There's a wild anecdote at the PBC Blog from Altoona Curve pitcher Aaron Thompson, who reports that teammate Starling Marte, who is among the Pirates' best hitting prospects, recently threw 101 MPH in a game:â†µ
This day, Thompson was behind the plate with the team’s radar gun when, with a runner on second, a clean single was hit into center toward Marte, the 22-year-old Dominican and Pirates prospect known for his rifle arm.â†µ
"I cleared the radar gun out from the pitch real quick," Thompson said. "Then I pointed it at Marte because I knew he was going to come up throwing. And, dude, it was 101. Guy was safe at the plate, but it was 101."â†µ
Wow. There aren't many pitchers in the big leagues who can touch 101 on a generous radar gun, and many of the ones who can do it when they turn pro (Stephen Strasburg, Aroldis Chapman) are hailed as phenoms.â†µ
One might be tempted to consider converting Marte to pitching if he weren't a solid hitting prospect already. Marte has hit for high averages throughout the minor leagues, and he also has good speed. He hasn't demonstrated much power yet, but there's at least some hope he'll develop it as he ages. He also doesn't walk enough, but that would be more of an immediate concern if he weren't batting over .300 at every stop. At 22, he's still raw, but he has tremendous promise as an outfielder. Whatever happens, it's nice to know that, if nothing else, he'll be an outfielder with a very, very powerful arm.