Name: Luis Marte
DOB: December 15, 1993
Acquired: 2010 International Free Agent
Although Luis Marte has played only one minor league season, it appears the Texas Rangers may have gotten a bargain in signing the Dominican shortstop for a bonus that's been reported between $215,000 and $250,000.
The Rangers signed Marte in November 2010 and opted against sending him to Arizona for spring training in 2011. Instead, the prospect spent the most of the regular season in the Dominican Summer League before earning a late-season promotion to the rookie-level Arizona League. He later attended instructs in the U.S.
At the time he signed, Marte was perhaps best known for his good all-around defensive skills. He's a true shortstop prospect with all of the tools necessary for success. But he also proved to be an advanced hitter while playing in the DSL, posting a .290/.309/.394 slash line in 60 contests. Marte showed some gap-to-gap power despite his youth by hitting 16 doubles, a triple and two home runs.
Rangers' minor league hitting instructor Luis Ortiz, who had the opportunity to work with Marte in the Dominican Republic last season, came away impressed with the prospect's overall game.
"That kid has some kind of tools," Ortiz said. "People are going to see him here soon. He is passionate. He wants it. He is very personable. He is going to be a very good addition to our teams here, for sure. And he is a quick learner.
"He has some issues––he struggled at the beginning. Now you see him, and he has taken off. He could be the total package. I don't know if the big power is going to happen, but he is going to be able to be a gap-to-gap guy. He is going to run well, and he is very athletic on the field. He's a fun kid to watch."
As Ortiz mentioned, Marte began his summer slowly but caught a hot streak in June, going 28-for-82 (.341) with eight doubles and both of his homers. After he fell into another funk during July, DSL Rangers manager Kenny Holmberg praised the youngster's makeup.
"I had him out of the lineup for a day just to give him a little bit of a blow after the All-Star break," Holmberg said. "And he said, ‘Hey man, I'm the shortstop of this team.' And he went out and hit two doubles and got another hit. That's this kid's makeup. He is a big competitor. He battles and makes adjustments."
Strong mental makeup appears to be a quality that the Rangers often target when signing young Latin American prospects. Marte is no different in this respect, and the club felt he was mature enough to handle a late-season promotion to the rookie Arizona League after the DSL season had concluded.
The 18-year-old played in seven games for the Surprise Rangers before the AZL season ended. He went 6-for-25 (.240) at the plate with a double and a triple. Marte was also an impressive performer at fall instructional league during September and October.
Listed at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, Marte doesn't have a totally immature body, but he does have room to fill out and add strength as he matures. Holmberg, who managed him last summer, is excited about the tools and thinks Marte will retain his range and strength as he grows.
"I'm assuming that two or three years down the road, you're going to be looking at a pretty good-looking shortstop with range, arm strength and gap-to-gap ability," he said. "He just has a very, very competitive nature.
"This kid is going to be exciting. I know we're all excited about the other guys we have sent along now, and he is just the next wave of good-looking shortstops in the minor league farm system for the Texas Rangers."
Also See: Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Luis Ortiz (June 17, 2011)
Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Kenny Holmberg (August 5, 2011)
Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Kenny Holmberg (August 7, 2011)
Marte earns state-side promotion (August 19, 2011)
Tweeting Rangers Instructs (October 2, 2011)
Rangers Top Prospects, Top Tools (October 27, 2011)
Rangers All-Prospect Teams (November 8, 2011)
Batting and Power: Marte turned in an impressive performance with the DSL Rangers last summer by hitting .290 and flashing some gap-to-gap pop. He shows the makings of a future plus hit tool with his sound swing, good bat speed, and ability to make contact. Some present strength in Marte's frame enables him to flash a little gap power at present, and he has a chance to develop average power at full maturity. As both Ortiz and Holmberg stated in the above feature, Marte's game should be as a gap-to-gap hitter who ultimately racks up a high number of doubles with a good average. But he's also a young player with an aggressive approach who will have to tighten his hitting zone in the coming years.
Base Running and Speed: An above-average runner, Marte was aggressive on the base paths during his debut season, stealing 18 bases in 28 attempts over 67 games with the DSL and Surprise Rangers clubs. He has a strong feel for all aspects of the game, and that includes base running. Although he doesn't project to become a burner on the base paths, Marte should always be a good runner and a threat to rack up 20-plus steals annually.
Defense: Marte has an impressive package of tools and skills, but his overall defensive game––both present and future potential––may stand above the rest. A very mature defender for his age, he's a good athlete with quick reflexes in his 6-foot-1, 170-pound body. Marte displays smooth actions with above-average range and an arm that borders on plus as well. While he figures to get stronger as his body matures, he should have little trouble retaining the athleticism and plus range to both sides.
Projection: The 18-year-old can show all five tools at times––hit, power, run, glove, and throw. Although Marte isn't likely to become a big masher down the line, he has the potential to develop future average power. The Dominican Republic native is a true shortstop prospect who projects to become a plus defender with good speed and hitting skills. The Rangers' developmental staff praised his makeup and competitive nature during his debut last season. While he's at least a few years away from the major leagues, he shows advanced skills and instincts for his age. Marte has the raw potential to become a first-division major league shortstop.
2012 Outlook: Marte will almost certainly break his first state-side camp by remaining at the complex for extended spring training. Where he goes from there should depend on how he performs both this spring and early in the season. With a relatively advanced overall game, he's most likely to become the everyday shortstop at Spokane when the short season begins in June. If he doesn't play in Spokane, he'll stay in the complex with the rookie-level Surprise Rangers.
|2011||DSL Rangers (DSL)||.290||231||16||2||42||29||17/27||6||38||.309||.394|
|AZL Rangers (RK)||.240||25||1||0||4||2||1/1||0||3||.240||.360|
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