Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SweetSpot [Print without images]

Thursday, September 3, 2009
Has Tribe found a first baseman?


Paul Hoynes on Andy Marte, the Indians' new (and maybe future) first baseman: Something went wrong along the way.

When Marte was 19, he hit the ball in fast Class A. When Marte was 20, he hit the ball in Double-A. When he was 21, he hit the ball in Triple-A. Then he got traded twice in two months, and stopped hitting.

Or, more precisely, he stopped walking -- in the minors, anyway. In the majors, he just didn't hit, period. This summer in Triple-A, Marte did post the best numbers of his career. But it was his fourth go-around in Triple-A and his walk rate still is far below what it was four years ago.

Oh, and (gulp) first base? Really? Until this summer, Marte hadn't hit like anything but a shortstop since 2005 ... and suddenly he's a first baseman?

Despite his middling numbers since rejoining the big club, Marte's earned a shot with somebody, doing something. And with Matt LaPorta in left field, the Indians do have an opening at first base. I just don't believe that Andy Marte is going to hit enough to fill it.