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Arizona Diamondbacks Acquire Starling Marte From the Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates

Starling Marte Heads to the Desert

Earlier this afternoon, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates completed a trade with one another. The trade sent outfielder, Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for two prospects. The deal was officially announced shortly after it was reported and confirmed via the Pirates Twitter account here.

For Arizona, this move was made with the intention of helping them with their goal of contending this year. The Diamondbacks are trying to build a sustainable team at the major league level while building up depth down on the farm. While Arizona was forced to surrender two prospects in this deal, the cost is more than worth it for them. Essentially, Arizona gets Marte for two seasons, assuming the team picks up his $12.5 million dollar Team Option for 2021.

On the other side of the coin, the Pittsburgh Pirates continued their mission of selling off major league assets. New General Manager, Ben Cherington came in with the goal of trying to build up depth throughout the organization’s farm system. Cherington wanted that depth to be impactful, high-ceiling prospects and that is what the Pirates received this afternoon from the Diamondbacks.

SS Liover Peguero

The first potentially high-ceiling piece of the package heading back to Pittsburgh was 19-year old shortstop, Liover Peguero. Many scouts believe that Peguero is the type of prospect that could potentially pay off huge dividends, but one that comes with some risk as well. In the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system, Peguero ranked seventh on its Top 30 Prospects list. With the Pittsburgh Pirates, Peguero is their seventh-best prospect overall, based on their Top 30 Prospect rankings.

Last year, Peguero spent time Rookie Ball and Class-A Ball, where he slugged: .326/.382/.485 over the span of 249 plate appearances. In that time, Peguero recorded 5 home runs, 38 RBI, 20 walks, and 11 stolen bases. It was the first season that Peguero played in 60 games as a major league prospect.

If Peguero continues to mature and develop his hit tools, there is a very good chance that he will be a tremendous hitter. Furthermore, scouts continually compliment him on his defensive abilities as well which could make him even more valuable for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the game of baseball today, there aren’t many shortstops that are able to play on both sides of the ball. Therefore, the Pirates could have struck gold with their acquisition of Peguero.

On the scouting scale, his best quality comes in the Running category where he received a grade of 60. When it came to hitting and overall fielding, Peguero received a grade of 55 in both categories. Very high and excellent ratings for a teenage prospect.

RHP Brennan Malone

Last year during the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected right-hander, Brennan Malone with their first overall pick. At the time, Malone was a high school pitcher and one that was viewed as having an extremely high ceiling. With the Arizona Diamondbacks, Malone ranked ninth on the organization’s Top 30 Prospects list. Now, as part of the Pirates farm system, Malone ranks eighth overall on their Top 30 Prospects list.

Last season, Malone split time between Rookie Ball and Class A Ball as well. Between both of those teams, Malone combined for a 4.50 ERA over eight innings of work. Very small sample size and that’s what contributes to so much unknown about his arm. Malone struck out eight over those innings and had a walks-per-nine innings rate of 5.6.

One of the selling points about Malone is his four-pitch repertoire that scouts are very bullish about. Malone is most known for his fastball which topped out in the upper-90’s this last season. In addition to the fastball, Malone features a plus slider, breaking changeup, and a mediocre curveball. On the scouting scale, his fastball received a grade of 65, while the slider got a grade of 50. Both the changeup and curveball were scored with a 50 overall.

Projecting ahead into the future, the 19-year old Malone looks like he will be a power arm as part of the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation. Malone features a lot of simple mechanics with his pitches which should increase his chances of being near the top of the rotation with more development and experience.

Final Thoughts

In the end, the Arizona Diamondbacks traded for an outfielder, Starling Marte was one that the team needed to complete. Arizona was in need of a true, everyday centerfielder which would allow breakout star, Ketel Marte to move back to second base. With this trade, they cleared up that picture and gave themselves additional offense for this season and potentially 2021.

For the Pittsburgh Pirates, all eyes are on the future and trying to add impactful, high-ceiling prospects throughout the organization. With this trade, the Pittsburgh Pirates are taking a risk on two teenage prospects, but it very well could be a risk that pays off huge dividends heading into the future. Both Liover Peguero and Brennan Malone feature a significant amount of high-ceiling talent. Now it is up to them and the Pittsburgh Pirates to continue to hone their craft and make them components of the next great Pirates team.


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