Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Marte made his professional debut with the DSL Tigers in 2006, as a 19-year old hard throwing phenom. After toiling at the Tigers Dominican complex for over a year, Luis finally got the chance to shine, and took advantage of every inning he was given. He dominated his competition, to the tune of a 1.38/0.86 line with over 12 K/9 (6:1 K:BB). Marte was stingy in every facet of his game, including his reluctance to yield homeruns, as none were hit off of him in 65 innings.
At the close of the season, Marte ranked 3rd in the DSL in both wins (8), and strikeouts (90), and 9th in ERA. His most dominating stretch came at the start of the season, where he notched a miniscule 0.36 ERA in 25 June innings; allowing only one run to cross home plate. For his efforts, Luis was named the TigsTown DSL Pitcher of the Year in 2006.
Marte's stateside debut appeared a rousing success after two starts with the GCL Tigers. Notching two wins while tossing 12 innings, Luis allowed only one run and one walk while striking out twelve batters. The Tigers quickly moved him to West Michigan, where he pitched the remainder of the year from the Whitecaps' bullpen. In 13 appearances spanning 27-2/3 innings, Marte allowed 26 hits and 19 walks, while sitting down 24 hitters via strikeout. At only 20-years old for much of the season, Marte spent the majority of the summer pitching against older competition.
Luis' calling card is an above average fastball, complimented by a very raw curveball and change-up. His fastball sits in the 92-94 range, and can touch the upper 90s on rare occasions. Similar to Eulogio de la Cruz, Marte's smallish frame doesn't allow him to generate good downward plane on his fastball, leaving it prone to being hit hard be more advanced hitters. He must begin working his heater down in the zone with more regularity if he is to maintain his success at higher levels. Marte's curve and change have both shown promise, but he must gain consistency with both offerings before either is considered a reliable secondary pitch.
Marte's command of his fastball is above-average, as he can routinely work to all parts of the zone with regularity. He does get in trouble working in to lefties sometimes, as he will occasionally miss out over the plate; a problem he was able to get away with while working against inexperienced hitters in the DSL and GCL, but something hitters in the Midwest League were able to take advantage of. Luis' inexperience is evident when fielding his position and holding runners. He struggles to maintain both his velocity and command from the stretch, but this should improve with additional instruction and experience.
Marte has a considerable ceiling despite his size, and if he can become more consistent in all facets of his approach, he may begin to climb this list and the organizational ladder quickly. His future likely lies in the bullpen, where his hard fastball could play nicely at higher levels.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG R
Marte has some trouble maintaining his strength as he moves later into games, and such a problem may relegate him to the bullpen full time as soon as the 2008 season. His slender frame will always require additional attention as his whip-like arm action can put undue stress on his shoulder.
Despite a downturn in his numbers at West Michigan, Marte's stateside debut should still be considered a success. He demonstrated that he could get outs against advanced hitters, and that his raw stuff should play well as he continues to mature.
Marte is very much a work in progress, but thus far he has reinforced the fact that he is a solid prospect. Luis will likely head back to the Midwest League to start the 2008 season, and he will be relied on heavily to contribute to the success of new Manager Joe DePastino and new Pitching Coach Alan Mills.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.