When 25-year old right-hander Jose Marte began the 2021 season, he was stuck between the San Francisco Giants’ High-A and Double-A team for the third straight year. Then, at the trade deadline, he was dealt to the Los Angeles Angels as a part of a package that sent Tony Watson to the Bay.
The Angels immediately saw potential in him, promoting him to Double-A Rocket City upon acquiring him. He pitched a total of 3.0 innings before L.A. had seen enough, promoting him to Triple-A Salt Lake. After just 5.0 innings there, the Angels felt it was time to bring him to the big league team.
Marte made his Major League — and Angels debut — on Friday against the Cleveland Indians. And in a game in which the Angels lost 9-1, Marte was a beacon of hope for the future. The reliever threw two near-perfect innings, putting up zero runs, zero walks, one hit, and four strikeouts.
Joe Maddon was beaming when discussing Marte’s debut, saying that he was very clearly ready for that moment, according to Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:
“He was ready for that moment,” Maddon said. “It was good to get it out of the way, get his feet on the ground. I thought he handled it beautifully. And his stuff was really good.”
When asked if Marte’s debut tampered down the emotion of a blowout loss, Maddon admitted looking towards the future helps, according to J.P. Hoornstra of The O.C. Register:
“It’s one of those moments,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “One eye’s here. One eye’s there. You’re looking to get on a nice run. At the same time, you’re looking to the future. It’s fun to watch (Marte), (Brandon Marsh), Jo Adell. … We’re waiting for the moment this all comes together.”
Relievers are perhaps the most volatile part of Major League Baseball, so it’s hard to read too much into one performance. But if Marte can become a reliable middle reliever, there’s no telling the ways in which is could benefit the Angels next season.
Having a good stopgap between their starters and Raisel Iglesias is something that team has desperately been searching for all year. Marte was unable to prove that in a high-leverage situation, but his dominance against a talented Indians lineup suggests he may be up to the task.
Angels bullpen adding options
Just before Marte’s debut, Maddon was already pleased with the improved work of the Angels bullpen. He said that he was excited to finally have more options to turn to, including Austin Warren, Jose Quijada, Andrew Wantz, and now Marte.