Tigers Prospect Profile #14: Luis Marte

Luis Marte started off 2008 as one of the most impressive pitchers in the organization, prompting a quick promotion. Injuries slowed him down as the season wore on, but his prospect status still remains.

Luis Marte
Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Height: 5-11
Weight: 175
Born: 8/28/1986
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Background
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.

The Tigers moved Luis to Lakeland to start the 2008 season, and he somehow managed to upstage top prospect Rick Porcello in the season's first month; posting a 1.24 ERA and 2-1 record en route to April's TigsTown Lakeland Pitcher of the Month Award. After another half month with the Flying Tigers, Marte was promoted to Double-A Erie. After two starts at Erie, he was sidelined with an arm injury and didn't return to the mound until mid-July. Marte was sent to the Arizona Fall League to make up innings, and while he did not pitch spectacularly, he made some mechanical tweaks and pitched well enough to keep the organization high on him heading into 2009.

Scouting Report
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. Marte's smaller frame keeps him from generating a good downward plane on his fastball, and he can be more hittable as a result. 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. The curveball is the more inspiring of the two, and with additional innings, it could become an above-average 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 at the higher levels may be 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

A+

Lakeland

3-2

1.98

7

7

0

41

11

41.0

.196

R

GCL Tigers

0-1

3.60

1

0

0

5

0

5.0

.238

AA

Erie

4-4

5.05

10

10

0

32

26

57.0

.264


Health Record
Marte's elbow trouble proved to be little more than a strain last summer, though it will be something to monitor closely moving forward. During the AFL, he suffered from some shoulder soreness; an ailment that caused Pitching Coach Ray Burris to make some mechanical tweaks that would hopefully keep him from throwing across his body, and improve his durability.

The Future
Provided the elbow and shoulder problems are squarely behind him, Marte should begin this season back at Double-A Erie. His spring performance will determine if he continues in a starting role, or if he will move to the bullpen. The bullpen may get him to Detroit quicker, but the Tigers are likely to force him into the Erie rotation in order to get him additional innings to refine his arsenal.

Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.


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