Marte, a Dominican third baseman, led the Sally league in RBI [in 2002] and was second in home runs. If his age is to be believed, he did this at the age of 18, which would make him a tremendous prospect. We have no reason to be skeptical of Marte in particular. Just a reminder that the usual caveat to Dominican ages applies. If he unexpectedly stagnates, as many of the later-exposed birthday frauds have done, that's a tip-off.Baseball Prospectus 2004:
There's a school of thought that the science of prospecting isn't so much about identifying strengths as it is about recognizing limitations. Reggie Abercrombie, for all the five-tool talent he has, is never going to develop the batting eye to becomes a good major league player; Bobby Jenks may never have the brain for it.BP 2004's Top Prospects -- Marte #3:
With Marte, there is no much limitations, and that's why he's regarded as among the best prospects in baseball. Marte has a short swing that projects to generate a lot of power as he fills out, a precocious idea of the strike zone, and an organization that should mentor him well. Perhaps more importantly, he's able to make adjustments midstream. This season , Marte got off to a subpar start at the plate, flirting with the Mendoza line, before learning the adaptations necessary to allow him to master the level; he hit well above .300 from May 1 on. The Braves are high on him, and while an April 2005 timetable sounds aggressive, Marte has met every challenge thus far.
A player with Marte's diversity of skills, and at such a young age, has so many ways to develop into a true superstar player. As a bonus, he plays for an organization [Atlanta] whose can't-miss prospects almost never, in fact, miss. Marte is as safe a bet as a prospect can be without ever playing a game in the high minors.
Baseball Prospectus 2005:
The best prospect in baseball and a future superstar. As a 20-year-old toiling in the mostly hitter-unfriendly Southern League, Marte hit .269/.364/.525. In only 387 at-bats, he smacked 52 extra-base hits. He's got monstrous power and a broad base of hitting skills. In his prime, expect a few seasons of Adrian Beltre, circa 2004.BP 2005's Top Prospects -- Marte #1:
No doubt the general consensus within the scouting community is that Marte is an excellent prospect, but I suspect that our selection of Marte as the best prospect in baseball will raise more than a few eyebrows. ...
Marte's promise can't be summed up in a single number -- his potential stems from his across-the-board skills. Maybe he doesn't do anything exceptionally well, but he does just about everything well.
His .274 lifetime average isn't bad at all when you consider that he has spent almost his entire career in pitchers' parks, and his .479 slugging average is outstanding for a player who has always been among the youngest players in his league. More than any other skill, isolated power augurs very well for the player who displays it at a very young age. Marte shows unusual command of the strike zone for a young player, with 127 walks in fewer than 900 at-bats the last two seasons.
His OPS has increased every year since he turned pro, even as he has faced stiffer competition each year. He was rated the best defensive third baseman in the Southern League last year. ... It helps that the most comparable player to Marte in our database is Miguel Cabrera.
Maybe he doesn't have the highest upside of any player on this list, although an above-average defensive third baseman who hits .300 with 30 homers and 80 walks every year sounds like a superstar to me. But upside alone doesn't make a top prospect. There's also the little matter of how likely he is to reach his upside. ... Marte has that rare combination of high upside and low risk. No one else on this list has that. Which is why no one else is our #1 prospect.