Editor's note: We've made a change with the PuRPs list this year, deciding to unveil each player individually over the course of a few weeks. To keep track of the list, keep checking our PuRPs list StoryStream.
PuRP No. 25: Hamlet Marte (95 points, 11 ballots) | Summer 2014 Ranking: HM | High Ballot 17, Mode Ballot 17, 23
Marte, a 20-year-old catcher who played for rookie-level Grand Junction in 2014, has only 188 plate appearances to his name in stateside action. They were very impressive plate appearances, though; Marte hit .329/.404/.509 (136 wRC+) for the Rookie Rockies while playing catcher. Before that, Marte won the Dominican Summer League MVP in 2013 with a .292/.382/.452 line (148 wRC+) and an unheard of (for the DSL) seven homers, albeit in his third season of action at that level.
Marte's impressive offensive numbers did not come as a result of merely having higher peaks than valleys throughout the course of the season. His consistency was remarkable; posting a hit in 37 out of 44 games played. As for the seven games in which he failed to record a hit, in four of them he drew at least one walk, getting two in one of them.
There were only three games last season in which Marte failed to reach base.
Even while often missing two games in a row then playing two in a row due to an odd catcher situation in Grand Junction, Marte more or less just recorded a hit in a little more than one out of every three at-bats. It can be difficult to maintain such consistency even under normal circumstances. Perhaps the universal praise of his positive nature reveals something about why he is so even keeled on the diamond.
Defensively, the tools are there for Marte to succeed, particularly arm strength, but they didn't translate to throwing out baserunners (just four out of 55 this year). In addition, Marte had 12 passed balls and five errors in just 34 games behind the plate, putting his pitch blocking skills somewhat into question. If he can stick as a catcher, Marte has considerable potential value to the organization. However, to climb the list Marte must distinguish himself in full-season ball and behind the plate as a legitimate catcher (or just continue to knock the tar off the ball, which would make his bat playable at any position).
Marte will be Rule 5 eligible after 2015, though I don't see the Rockies protecting him unless he really plays well next season because of how far away he is from major league contribution.
Contract Status: 2011 free agent (Dominican Republic), not Rule 5 eligible, three options remaining
MLB ETA: Late 2017