Tigers Prospect Profile: Luis Marte

Marte gets the call to Detroit

One of the more surprising September 1st call-ups is right-handed reliever Luis Marte, a longtime member of the organization but someone who seemed to have hit a ceiling. Marte though had an outstanding minor league year to earn the promotion. What sort of repertoire can Tigers fans expect to see in Detroit?

Luis Marte
Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Height: 5-10
Weight: 185
Born: 8/26/1986
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Background
Marte was signed late in 2005 as a 19-year old. He debuted with the DSL Tigers in 2006 and posted a 1.38 ERA in eleven starts with 90 strikeouts in just 65 innings.

Brought stateside for the 2007 season, Marte started and dominated two games in the Gulf Coast League before moving up to West Michigan where he posted a 2.83 ERA working mostly out of the ‘Caps bullpen.

Marte saw action at three levels in 2008 with a 1.98 ERA in seven starts at Lakeland before struggling to a 5.05 ERA in ten starts at Double-A. For the season, Marte allowed 91 hits in 103 innings with 78 strikeouts. After posting a strikeout rate of 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings with Lakeland, his rate fell off the table to just 5.1 strikeouts per nine innings with Erie.

In 2009 with Erie, Marte rebounded to post a solid 4.02 ERA in 105 1/3 innings before notching an ugly 5.06 mark with the same club in 2010.

So far this season, Marte has appeared in 23 games, amassing 53 innings pitched and a 1.70 ERA. He has yielded just 29 hits and 18 walks while striking out 68 hitters.

Scouting Report
Marte previously made his name off a surprising fastball and some eye-popping numbers. Injuries over the last three years have sapped some of his velocity, but he has worked hard at his craft and re-invented himself as a true pitcher.

Marte has developed the ability to command his fastball to all parts of the strike zone while also changing speeds with ease. Throughout his outings, his fastball will range from 87 mph all the way up to the occasional 95 mph, while sitting in the 89-91 range most of the time.

He lacks the physical size that many teams desire in their right-handed pitchers. He makes up for it with a lightning quick arm that deceives hitters. Though he doesn't have tremendous movement or great angle to the plate, his command helps his fastball play up.

In addition to his ability to change speeds with his fastball, Marte will also frequently mix in his other three pitches; a slider, curveball, and change-up.

Reports from this season indicate that Marte's curveball has been his best pitch, regularly earning 60-grades from scouts. Two scouts outside the organization have indicated they saw Marte flash a borderline 70-grade curve at times. Much like his fastball, Marte can vary the speed of his curveball to his advantage as well, though he typically sits in the 74-76 range.

Marte's slider has rated as one of the top sliders in the organization at times, and while it has not rated that highly this season, it still rates as a solid-average pitch that he can throw in the low-80s to give another speed and a different look.

Rounding out his arsenal, Marte will mix in a change-up that can work anywhere from 80-82 mph. He holds the pitch with a circle grip and he has outstanding arm action that gives him added deception.

With his only true plus pitch being his curveball, Marte is going to maintain a healthy list of skeptics among scouts. His pitchability and infectious positive attitude are outstanding attributes that can help his overall stuff play up a touch more.

With a four-pitch mix and excellent feel for his craft, Marte may have had some future as a starter if it weren't for durability issues. With those considered, Marte profiles in the middle of a big league bullpen, possibly as a 6th or 7th inning arm.

Performance

Level

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

AVG

AA

Erie

3-0

1.70

23

1

3

68

18

53.0

.158

AAA

Toledo

1-0

5.40

2

0

0

2

4

3.1

.231


Health Record
Marte has had a variety of medical issues since the middle of the 2008 season. He first battled elbow soreness in 2008, followed by a shoulder issue that sidelined him both at the end of the season and in the Arizona Fall League.

The shoulder issues came back to life in 2009 and sidelined him for much of the season, though he still did not require surgery.

In 2010, Marte missed the start of the season with a knee injury suffered in spring training as he was chasing down fly balls during batting practice. Marte's enthusiasm and love for the game have left him in a precarious position on a couple of occasions and the team has worked with him to channel his passion for the game.

This season, Marte started the year off on the DL as he dealt with shoulder problems yet again. It wasn't until June that the Tigers felt he was okay to return to game action, at which point he joined Erie and has been on the active roster since.

The Future
The Tigers are set to make Marte one of their September call-ups, as he will join the club on Thursday and work out of the bullpen over the season's final month.

Despite the gaudy numbers at Erie this year, Marte is unlikely to step in and be a high leverage arm for the Tigers down the stretch, but he could help maintain the club's lead in the Central Division.

Long term, his addition to the 40-man roster will earn him a shot to make the big club out of spring training in 2012. With a lot of uncertainty in the middle of the bullpen heading into next year, Marte will have an excellent opportunity to lock down a spot on the roster.

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