Mets' Marte makes first AFL homer a big one
Third base prospect hits go-ahead two-run blast in eighth inning
Jefry Marte was off to a slow start in the Arizona Fall League, but that could be starting to change.
The Mets' No. 10 prospect slugged his first fall homer Saturday afternoon as the Peoria Javelinas held on for an 8-7 victory over the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Serving as the Javelinas' designated hitter, Marte snapped an eighth-inning tie with a two-run blast -- his second extra-base hit in seven AFL games. Peoria hitting coach Alonzo Powell said it's only a matter of time before the 20-year-old gets back on track.
"He's a young kid with a lot of potential with pretty good strength and good bat speed," Powell explained. "He's a lot like the other kids here, he just needs a little fine-tuning. There was not really an adjustment in his swing. He had a pitch to hit in his at-bat before and he popped it up in the infield. The next time, he got a pitch he could handle."
Marte, a native of the Dominican Republic, was hitless and struck out twice in his first three at-bats before coming up with one on and out out in the eighth. After taking Pat Lehman's slider for ball one, he pulled the next pitch over the left-center field fence.
"He got a 1-0 fastball up in the zone and he put a good swing on it to left-center field," said Powell, a former Major League outfielder. "He's been swinging the bat well and he came through with a big hit for us today. I see a kid that has got really good bat speed and gap-to-gap power. He just needs to be more confident."
A Futures Game selection this summer, Marte was not the only Mets prospect to deliver a big hit for Peoria (6-5). Center fielder Juan Lagares went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his second. He's batting .389 (7-for-18) with four RBIs in four games as one of two players on the Javelinas' taxi squad.
"Juan came through with two strikes," Powell noted. "He got a fastball up in the zone, too, and hit it into the bullpen. He is a five-tool type of player and he plays a real good center field. He has a lot of potential.
"We make sure we try to get him in there on Wednesdays and Saturdays. He's done a good job and he's been working hard. It is difficult for [Lagares and Zelous Wheeler]. Everybody else is playing every day, and if you're playing every day and have a bad game, you can make up for it quickly. They're in a difficult situation and they understand that. When they do play, they make the most of it."
Wheeler, a Brewers prospect who hit .272 in 82 games between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville this season, was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Mariners top prospect Nick Franklin also had two hits, drove in two runs and scored once.
Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford went 3-for-5 with an RBI to raise his average to .360 for Scottsdale, while Angels outfielder Mike Trout -- MLB.com's No. 1 prospect -- chipped in two hits.
Cardinals right-hander Keith Butler (1-1) tossed a hitless inning for the win and Padres prospect Miles Mikolas picked up his first save, despite allowing a run on three hits in the ninth.
Lehman (0-1), who pitched at two levels in the Nationals system, was charged with two runs -- one earned -- on two hits and a walk while fanning two over two innings.
Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.