New Kid In Town: Starling Marte gets a shot in Pittsburgh

Scott Pianowski

Baseball America considered Starling Marte a Top 75 prospect before the year. Today, he's just another young, talented kid trying to push Pittsburgh back to the playoffs.

The Bucs made the call for the 23-year-old outfielder on Wednesday and he'll make his major-league debut Thursday in Houston. There's no kid gloves on this one: he'll bat leadoff. And he's stepping into what's been the NL's best offense since June 1.

If the Pirates were still a losing ballclub, Marte would probably be in the minors right now. He's still got plenty of skills to work on. He logged a .286/.347/.500 slash line at Triple-A this summer, with 12 homers and 21 steals in 33 attempts. He needs to improve his plate skills (91 strikeouts, 23 unintentional walks). He's only played 228 games above Single-A.

But given the alternatives, the Bucs are doing the right thing tapping Marte on the shoulder. The Pirates collectively have the worst left-field offense in the league, a .196/.242/.317 slash line. Coughlin's Law: Anything else is always something better.

I'm not expecting Marte to take the league by storm, but he's an obvious grab in NL-only (I know, that tells you nothing) and he might be worth a shot in deeper mixed leagues. I give him a chance to solidify this job, maybe bat around .270 with some speed and the occasional homer.

The batting slot is right, and that's a big part of the equation in the NL. You decide how this applies to your fake teams. Marte is currently available in 92 percent of Yahoo! leagues.