The Marlins made a good addition on Monday by bringing in veteran outfielder Starling Marte from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for lefty Caleb Smith, righty Humberto Mejía, and a player to be named.
Marte joins Don Mattingly’s lineup to boost Marlins’ chances to advance to the postseason for the first time since 2003. On Fish Stripes, we’ve done our research and found five exciting statistics you should know about the 31-year-old Dominican.
1. He rarely strikes out
After 33 games for the D-Backs, he only struck out 19 times. He’s better than 91 percent of the league in K percentage, according to Baseball Savant. Throughout his career, he has been sat down on strikes less than one time per game (0.84).
That suits Miami’s current situation as they’re fifth in the National League in strikeouts (280 before Tuesday’s game). The best part for Marte is that his K% has gone down steadily for the last five years—it was 19.7% back in 2016, but it’s 13.8% now (league average is 23.3%).
2. Rare combination
When we arrived at Marte’s Baseball-Reference profile, his combination of stats made us go to Stathead and do our thing. We searched for players with at least 1000 hits, 200 doubles, and 200 stolen bases since 2012. And guess who came up?
That’s the entire list. The Dominican owns 1085 hits, 200 two-baggers, and 244 swiped bags, thanks to his rare combination of power and speed. Since last year, he’s only been caught stealing 21% of the time.
3. Neighbor killer
Nearly 47% of the games left on the schedule for the Marlins are against the Braves (7) and the Phillies (7). Let us tell you that Marte will be smiling when he sees that. Why? Well, he has destroyed both of those teams throughout his MLB career.
Against the Braves, he’s slashed .329/.390/.540 after 42 games, with eight doubles, one triple, and eight home runs. Starling has registered 28 runs batted in and 30 scored runs, along with 10 steals in 14 attempts.
4. He rakes against the first pitch
If you’re a pitcher, you better not challenge Marte with something in the comfort zone to begin the at-bat. He’s a career .381/.395/.625 hitter off the first pitch (180-for-491) with 32 doubles, four triples, and 25 dingers (83 RBI’s). How about that?
In 2020, the veteran is swinging at the first pitch in 34.8 % of the time, well above the MLB average (28.3%). In fact, he’s only seeing 3.79 pitches per appearance, fewer than any other qualified Marlin this year—the closest one to him is Brian Anderson with 3.88.
5. Help against lefties
This campaign, Marte has been smashing left-handed pitchers. In 29 at-bats (32 PA), he’s racked 11 hits, including three doubles. He owns a .379/.438/.483 with a .920 OPS against lefties.
That will certainly help the Marlins as they have a .226 batting average and a .652 OPS off left-handers. Those numbers are among the worst in the Major Leagues and well below average. Entering Tuesday, Miami has lost three straight and seven of the last eight matchups when their opponents start a southpaw.
It’s worth noting, however, that Marte’s lifetime production is virtually the same against righties and lefties. Hopefully, his uptick in 2020 is sustainable and proves to be the byproduct of a wise veteran player making adjustments while still in his prime.
Starling Marte has nearly as many career HBP (116) as Derek Dietrich (122). A multi-dimensional player.— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 1, 2020