SF Giants top prospects: No. 31 — RHP Jose Marte
Highest Level: High-A (San Jose)
Acquired: IFA (2015)
Future-Value Grade: 35+
Jose Marte has followed Melvin Adon’s prospect path for some time. Like Adon, Marte was a late-blooming prospect that builds his repertoire around an electric fastball. However, control and consistency ultimately forced Adon to the bullpen and Marte remains likely headed toward that path.
His fastball has good movement and has touched 98 mph. At its best, Marte’s heater sits between 94 and 96 mph. His delivery produces very good extension that plays his velocity up even more. All together, Marte’s fastball has the ability to be a plus or plus-plus pitch. He’s struggled to maintain consistent velocity though, and he’s sat in the 88-94 mph range quite often.
If he can more consistently tap into the peak of his fastball, his changeup and slider have enough to play as a starter. His changeup has flashed as an above-average pitch but has a long way to go. More realistically, his change projects as a 50-grade pitch and his slider should be a usable big-league offering, but not necessarily much more than that.
The early portion of his 2019 season was interrupted by an injury. When he returned in June, it looked like he had made some progress. In his first seven starts at San Jose, had a high ERA, but was victim to a lot of batted-ball luck and a low strand rate while posting encouraging peripherals (11.9 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9). However, perhaps over conscious about avoiding contact, his walks began to spike and his season seemed to derail from there.
Marte was unable to work deep into games (74 innings across 18 appearances) and struggled to limit damage (5.59 ERA). He recorded punchouts at the highest rate of his career (9.7 K/9) but saw his walks move in the wrong direction as well (5.4 BB/9).
Heading into 2020, this minor league season was probably Marte’s last chance to show he could be effective as a starter. If not, he would have followed Adon by moving to the bullpen. His stuff still profiles in the back of a bullpen if he can wrangle his control. Already 24 years old, the chances of Marte reaching his ceiling remain remote. But in that best-case scenario, Marte has a potential three-pitch mix worthy of a mid-rotation spot.
Assuming minor league baseball returns in 2021, it will be interesting to see how the team approaches Marte’s role.