Two years ago, the Braves traded away the number-one-rated prospect in baseball Andy Marte. At the time, the Braves had bounced him up and down from Atlanta to Richmond for a year. Yes, prospects are prospects, but he looked ready to hit the majors full time after he was shipped to Boston and then Cleveland during the 2005-2006 offseason.
In Richmond (2005), Marte posted a .275/.372/.506 line at the age of 21. This followed a .269/.364/.525 season in Double-A Greenville. When I take a quick look at a prospect, I look at two things: walk rate and power. He had walk rate of 12.9% and isolated-power of .256 in Greenville; 13.9% and .231 in Richmond. Basically, I thought he was a lock to be a major league regular if not something special. Now, he’s not too old to give up on, but he has definitely fallen off the right track.
Since the Braves swapped him for Edgar Renteria, Marte has spent most of his time in Triple-A Buffalo. Coming into this season, I thought his 2006 was just a bad year (.261/.321/.451), but his 2007 is looking even worse (.245/.282/.439). In particular, he’s lost his ability to walk and hit for power. In 2006, his walk rate and isolated-power dropped to 8.7% and .190. In 2007, he’s at 5.3% and .194.
There have been many top prospects who just couldn’t cut it in the majors, but I cannot remember seeing someone so primed for stardom stall out in his third season in Triple-A. I wish I had the answer as to why.