Marte 'as advertised' in MLB debut, fans 4

August 21st, 2021

CLEVELAND -- It was quite the Major League debut for right-hander .

Marte, acquired in the trade that sent lefty Tony Watson to the Giants on July 30, threw two scoreless innings with four strikeouts in the Angels' 9-1 loss to the Indians Friday night at Progressive Field. Marte, 25, flashed big velocity, with his fastball reaching 99.3 mph and averaging 97.3 mph.

"He was as advertised," Angels manager Joe Maddon said. "Strike-thrower, good stuff, fastball up to 98-99 [mph]. Slider better than I knew. The strike-throwing was there. He was ready for that moment. It was good to get it out of the way and get his feet on the ground. I thought he handled it beautifully, and his stuff was very good."

While he isn’t ranked among the Angels' Top 30 Prospects by MLB Pipeline, Marte could find himself as a big part of the bullpen going forward. He had a strong year in the Minors, posting a 3.65 ERA with 61 strikeouts and no homers allowed in 37 innings across three levels. It’s his first season working in relief after previously being a starter in the Giants’ system.

Marte, who was already traveling with the Angels on their road trip as a member of the club's taxi squad, admitted he was surprised to be called up by the Angels so soon. He made seven relief appearances combined for Double-A Rocket City and Triple-A Salt Lake before having his contract selected on Friday.

"It’s been a year full of travels,” Marte said through an interpreter. “But I've been praying to God to give me the strength to finally reach my goals."

Marte was one of three players the Angels acquired for Watson, including lefty Sam Selman, who threw a scoreless third inning. Selman found himself in a bases-loaded jam after giving up three consecutive two-out singles, but he escaped the threat unscathed. Right-hander Ivan Armstrong, the third player from the trade, is currently pitching at High-A Tri-Cities.

"I like Sam,” Maddon said. “The hits were a bouncer between first and second, a blooper to left field. It's just one of those things where they had a lot of things go their way. I like Sam. The more we get him out there, the more you're going to like him."

The Angels have been trying to infuse as much pitching into their system as possible, and Marte appears to have the tools to be a high-velocity late-inning option.

He came in for the fourth inning and struck out the first batter he faced, getting Myles Straw looking on a 2-2 slider. Marte also reached his peak velocity in that matchup with a 99.3 mph sinker. He allowed a two-out single to José Ramírez, but got Franmil Reyes to ground out to second to end the inning.

"My first batter, the first pitch, I was a little nervous,” Marte said. “But after that, I was able to calm myself down. I was just trying to do what I've been doing. Throw strikes and get the ball over the plate."

He was even more impressive in the fifth, fanning Bradley Zimmer, Wilson Ramos and Daniel Johnson in order on sliders. Zimmer struck out looking, while Ramos and Johnson went down swinging.

Marte threw 33 pitches total -- 22 sinkers and 11 sliders. He got two swings and misses with the slider and one with the sinker.

Maddon said Marte has a chance to be a multi-inning reliever going forward because of his ability to throw strikes. But much like fellow rookie Austin Warren, who has impressed in his first big league stint, Marte could also find himself in high-leverage situations in a hurry. On Friday, however, Maddon liked the idea of bringing Marte in for the fourth with the Angels already trailing.

“I'm looking forward to that,” Maddon said. “I wanted to get him out there tonight. It was actually a perfect moment to do that. The game wasn't so tight. He could get his feet on the ground, you get a taste of what it looks like. And I thought he passed all of that. The big thing with that is he's got good stuff, but he throws strikes. Warren has good stuff, and he throws strikes. That's what we're looking for. You can't catch a walk."