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2021 Angels Player Review: José Marte

An ill-timed COVID diagnosis aside, the rookie righty flashed some electric stuff after being acquired in the Tony Watson trade back in July

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last two months of the 2021 season, the Angels’ pitching staff went through what can only be described as an audition phase. The team had essentially fallen out of playoff contention by that time, so they called up a number of different young minor-league arms during August and September as a way to get them some big league experience and see who might be able to stick around for 2022.

One of the more intriguing pitchers that debuted for the Halos during this time was José Marte, a 25-year-old righty who was acquired at the July 30 trade deadline as part of the deal that sent Tony Watson to the Giants. Marte had five minor-league seasons under his belt for San Francisco before the trade, and in his 24 games between High-A and Double-A with them in 2021, he pitched well to the tune of a 3.41 ERA in 29 innings.

Upon his arrival with the Angels, Marte was assigned to Double-A Rocket City, where he threw three scoreless innings before earning a quick callup to Triple-A Salt Lake. His stint with the Bees was similarly short, as he appeared in just four games with them before the Halos decided to bring him up to the majors to see what he could do.

Marte’s big league debut came on August 20 against the Cleveland Indians, where he struck out four and allowed just a lone hit in two very sharp innings of relief work. Beyond just the numbers, though, the rookie showcased some electric stuff, mainly featuring a sinker that touched as high as 99 miles per hour with movement and a slider that he used to record all four of his strikeouts on the day. As far as a reliever debut is concerned, it was about as good as you’re going to get, which left Angels fans clamoring to see more of Marte down the stretch.

Unfortunately, however, this would be the last that we would see of Marte for quite a while, as the youngster tested positive for COVID just two days later and was forced to quarantine in a hotel room in Williamsport, PA for almost two weeks. He returned to the team on September 3, but because of his recent inactivity, it took another two weeks for him to build back up to game shape once again. He made his return to the mound almost a full month after his diagnosis on September 17 against the Athletics, but the rust from his long layoff was apparent, as he walked two and allowed a pair of inherited runners to score in just two-thirds of an inning.

Things didn’t get any better in Marte’s next outing either, as he allowed three hits and four earned runs—all allowed on a grand slam—in his one inning of work against the Astros a few days later. He did clean up a jam in the 12th inning of a game against Houston in the same series but was optioned back down to Salt Lake the day after, ending his brief cup of coffee in the bigs. He pitched three games with the Bees to cap off his 2021 season, giving up one earned run in 2.1 innings pitched.

2021 Statistics

4 IP, 4 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 5 Ks, 9.00 ERA in four relief appearances with the Angels

6.10 ERA in 10 relief appearances between AAA Salt Lake and AA Rocket City after being acquired via trade

Best Performance of the Year

Marte’s high note with the Angels after coming over at the deadline was pretty obviously his major-league debut against Cleveland on August 20. The two scoreless innings he threw in that game marked the longest outing of his short stint in a Halos uniform, and the raw stuff that he showed off was impressive any way you look at it. If you want a reason to give him a spot in the bullpen next year out of the gates, this outing would be it.

Roster Status

Since he just made his debut this past season, Marte will still be around with the Angels for the near future. As for next year, the most likely scenario for him is starting back in Salt Lake, as his time in the majors showed that he still has some things to fine tune before the club can rely on him on a regular basis. The stuff he showcased during his four games was legit, though, and if he can pair his upper 90s fastball and his nice slider with some improved command, he might be able to make his way back to the big leagues and carve out a role for himself sometime in 2022.