Tucupita Marcano tore up Triple-A to start the 2023 season.
The 23-year-old super utility player was hitting .422 with nine extra base knocks, leading to a 1.147 OPS. He had hits in 10 of his 11 games. Six of those 10 were multi-hit efforts. Three times this year, he had put together a three-hit game, including last Friday night. All of this, plus injuries in the majors, led to him getting promoted to Pittsburgh.
Marcano knows his success and promotion wasn’t a result of his actions during a few good games. The work toward his success began just after last season ended in November and December.
“The work that I put in during the off-season and the work that I put in during Spring Training is paying off,“ Marcano said prior to the promotion, through the translation of Ruben Gotay. “I’m trying to take it pitch by pitch and at-bat by at-bat. I’m trying to get to a good count and get a good pitch to do the best that I can. I just believe in what I did and the work I put in.”
Marcano’s primary motivation was to get his body in the right place to start off the 2023 campaign, which clearly was successful.
“I worked really hard on my body,“ Marcano said. “I took a lot of swings, but I really worked hard on everything. There was no particular focus. It is good when I step in the batters box, and I can see the fruits of that pay off.“
His competitiveness and effort is what caught the eye of his manager in Indianapolis, Miguel Perez.
“Marcano is a gamer, wherever you put him on the field, he’s going to play to win,” Perez said. “It’s great to see the results, but that’s who he’s going to be every time he plays.“
Along with batting in four different spots in the order and several situations for Indianapolis, Marcano also got work in the outfield. He took a significant amount of time working on his outfield defense this offseason. With this work, his confidence is rising.
“Every rep that I get, I feel more comfortable,” Marcano said. “I put in a lot of work in the outfield during the off-season, so I can see some of the work I did paying off as well.“
In six games with the Pirates over the last week, Marcano has gone 2-for-10 with a double, a triple, and two walks — giving him an .833 OPS in his first 12 plate appearances. He’s already started two games at second, and should have an opportunity to stay in the majors with all of the injuries to the big league club.
Trusting his off-season work and taking that pitch-by-pitch, at-bat by at-bat approach will help to keep him in Pittsburgh.
Ryan has been following Indianapolis baseball for most of his life, and the Pirates since they became the affiliate in 2005. He began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2013, in a stint that ran through 2016 (with no service time manipulation played in). Ryan rejoined the team in 2022, covering Indianapolis once again. He has covered the Pirates in four different big league stadiums. Ryan was also fortunate enough to cover the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati.
In 799 innings at Shortstop between the minors and majors he has a .946 fielding percentage. With Castro and Bae averaging what seems to me to be an error per game at shortstop, I would be willing to try Marcano there.
Fielding percentage is probably not the best statistic to use for fielding prowess, but .946 is, objectively, terrible. Castro and Bae drive me nuts too, but i think Bucs fans will have to learn to live with it.
Bae at Shortstop, all levels in 833 innings has a fielding percentage of .912
Castro at Shortstop, at all levels in 1499 innings has a fielding percentage of .919
Good interview Ryan
His swing is still super short, but can tell his approach has changed to try to elevate the ball more this year which is really encouraging