- Altoona Curve centerfielder Starling Marte
has been selected as the Eastern League Rookie of the Year, the league announced Sunday afternoon. The award adds to the list of accolades for the 22-year-old outfielder who in 2011 was named a mid-season and post-season Eastern League All-Star, the Eastern League Player of the Week from August 8-14th and a participant in the 2011 XM Futures Game.
It is the first time in team history that a Curve player has been selected as the E.L. Rookie of the Year.
"On behalf of the Pirates organization it has been fun to watch the development of Starling Marte both offensively and defensively over the past three seasons," said Curve Manager P.J. Forbes. "It is a credit to both our international scouting department and scouting department as well as our player development staff and we all look forward to seeing him in Pittsburgh in the future."
Marte enters tonight's game with the Squirrels the league's leading hitter at .335 and is searching for the batting title, which would be a first for a Curve player in team history. Jeff Keppinger hit a franchise-best .338 in 2004 and wound up winning the batting title but he finished the season with the Binghamton Mets after a midseason trade. The Santo Domingo, D.R. native's 177 hits eclipsed the previous franchise season-high of 166 set by Nate McLouth in 2004.
He also stands in the top-5 in franchise history for a single season in runs scored (T-4th, 90), doubles (3rd, 38), and extra-base hits (2nd, 58). In addition to leading the league in hitting, he also leads the league in hits (177) and doubles (T-1st, 38). He's among the top-5 in at bats (3rd, 528), extra-base hits (3rd, 58), runs scored (2nd, 90) and total bases (2nd, 267).
The standout centerfielder has had hitting streaks this season of 16, 14, 13 and 11 games at different points throughout the season. He's currently on a season-best, 16-game hit streak entering tonight's game with the Squirrels.
In addition to all the other listings he's also set career highs in games played, batting average, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI and walks. He's also tied a career-high in stolen bases
Marte was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2007 and 2011 marks his third season stateside in the Pirates' organization.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.