Third baseman Andy Marte, once one of the top prospects in baseball, was killed in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.
Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, issued the following statement following the deaths of Marte and Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura. Ventura was killed in a separate car accident in the Dominican Republic on Sunday.
According to ESPN, Marte was killed when a car he was driving crashed into a house along the side of the road. Marte had been in the country playing winter ball.
Metropolitan traffic authorities say Marte died early Sunday morning when a car he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles north of Santo Domingo, the capital.
Marte was once one of the top prospects in baseball, a can't-miss future superstar. Baseball America ranked him as the ninth-best prospect in baseball before the 2005 season, one spot ahead of Hanley Ramirez. Marte made two other appearances in the top 15 of the Baseball America annual top-100 list.
Marte never did live up to the potential he showed in the minors. Rather than develop into Chipper Jones' heir with the Braves, he was traded to the Red Sox and later the Indians, then spent most of his career bouncing around Triple-A. His last MLB appearance came with the Diamondbacks in 2014. He was a career .218/.276/.358 hitter in 308 big-league games.
Over the past two years, Marte found success with the KT Wiz in the Korea Baseball Organization. He hit .312/.390/.547 with 42 home runs in 206 games with KT from 2015-16.
Commissioner Rob Manfred released the following statement:
"Today is a very sad day for our entire game and particularly for the many loyal fans in the Dominican Republic, the home of both Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte.
"Yordano was a key figure in the Royals' recent success. His electric talent on the mound helped lead the Royals to two American League pennants and the 2015 World Championship. Andy was a respected member of six organizations who played seven Major League seasons, including for the Cleveland Indians from 2006-2010.
"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to the families, teammates, friends and fans of both players."
No word yet on when services for Marte will be held.