Starling Marte was one of my favorite sleepers last year, Grey’s too.  He looked really good during his 2012 rookie trial, hitting six triples and five homers in under fifty games, while also stealing twelve bags.  The following year, Marte’s first full season, he basically tore it up.  He posted an 83/12/35/.280/41 slash.  Not too shabby.  He is looking to repeat that success, much like Weekend At Bernie’s II improved on the clearly flawed original.

I’m going to run an experiment on how I write these articles, and if it works out, I’ll continue doing it throughout the season.  I’m going to grade players in several areas, and give each area a score.  Scoring 50% of the points in a category is my baseline for repeating the previous year’s performance.  I will combine the scores at the end using a fancy algorithm (I call it, “addition”) to compute a final score.  This score will be standardized out of 100%.  Scores above 100% mean the player does better than the previous year, whereas scores below 100% mean the player regresses.  Please give me your feedback, so I can make your experience on Razzball Airlines as pleasurable as possible.  Shall we begin?

## Category One: Injury Risk

This category assesses the injury risk of a player… who would’ve guessed?  I’m weighting this category less than the following ones because I believe it is a smaller factor than the story a player’s numbers tell.  You can’t project injuries, just talk to Aroldis Chapman.

If Marte can get enough PAs, he is going to give Craig Biggio a run for his money on top of the HBP charts.  Okay, so Biggio is second all-time, but the leader played in the late 1800s, so I’m gonna give Biggio the honor here.  Marte got hit by 24 pitches last year.  That is second only to Shin-Soo Choo’s 26.  Marte is notorious for getting hit by pitches; he was hit by 49 pitches in the minors.  Marte’s number is more impressive than Choo’s though.  It took Marte 146 fewer PAs to almost match Choo’s total.   Here is the top ten for HBP rates in 2013 (minimum of 8 HBP):

Name

G

PA

HBP

HBP/G

HBP/PA

Starling Marte 135 566 24 17.78% 4.24%
Kevin Frandsen 119 278 11 9.24% 3.96%
Shin-Soo Choo 154 712 26 16.88% 3.65%
Shane Victorino 122 532 18 14.75% 3.38%
Josh Willingham 111 471 14 12.61% 2.97%
Jose Iglesias 109 382 11 10.09% 2.88%
Carlos Quentin 82 320 9 10.98% 2.81%
Daniel Nava 134 536 15 11.19% 2.80%
Craig Gentry 106 287 8 7.55% 2.79%
Neil Walker 133 551 15 11.28% 2.72%

Marte is the leader in both HBP/G and HBP/PA.  Last year, Marte was hit by more than one pitch every six games.  If you want to know how detrimental a HBP can be, talk to Curtis Granderson.  For those of you who don’t know, the Grandy Man was hit by a pitch in spring training last February and was out until mid-May.  Marte went day-to-day last August after he got hit by a pitch.  A week later, he was on the DL with a contusion.  This makes you ask yourself: Can Marte stave off the DL bug when he is such a ball magnet?  He should really try being a chick magnet instead…that new contract will probably help him there.

Other than Marte’s affinity for getting hit by pitches, he is a minor injury risk: he strained his oblique in 2012 and missed sixteen games.  Overall, Marte is a fairly safe option in terms of injuries, but he has that HBP black cloud hanging over his head.

Score: 2 out of 5

## Category Two: Skill vs. Luck

This category tries to quantify how skilled a player is, against how lucky they were getting.

The first topic I want to cover is Marte’s walk and strikeout rates.  Among qualified batters last year (140 total), Marte had the seventeenth worst K rate, and the twelfth worst walk rate.  His BB/K rate was .18, which was tied for second worst overall with Adam Jones.  There is nothing appetizing about that.  Most batters who strike out as often as Marte are walking at least twice as often as him.  I compiled some batters that had similar walk and strikeout rates as Marte:

Name

BB%

K%

AVG

OBP

BABIP

Marlon Byrd

5.4%

24.9%

0.291

0.336

0.353

Alfonso Soriano

5.8%

24.9%

0.255

0.302

0.289

Carlos Gomez

6.3%

24.7%

0.284

0.338

0.344

Starling Marte

4.4%

24.4%

0.280

0.343

0.363

Jedd Gyorko

6.3%

23.4%

0.249

0.301

0.287

Will Venable

5.6%

22.9%

0.268

0.312

0.313

I don’t like Marte by the looks of this.  Marte does have the highest OBP here, but that’s an inflated value when you factor in Marte getting plunked 24 times.  In the future, I see Marte’s average and OBP falling more in line with Will Venable’s line…not exactly what a leadoff hitter should be producing.

His BABIP is a huge factor for me in determining his regression.  Marte’s 2013 BABIP was the twenty-fifth highest among qualified batters since 2010…only five of those seasons with higher BABIPs had averages below .300, and only one of those was below .290.  Marte was only able to hit .280 with his BABIP.  He has always been a high BABIP player, like most speedy guys are.  But I don’t think his .363 mark is sustainable.  I’ll knock his average and OBP because of this.

Score: 4.5 out of 10

## Category Three: Other Trends/Stuff I Noticed

Okay, so I don’t have fancy names for these categories.  I might expand into more categories next time around, but I’ve got three for now.

One reason Marte is so valuable is because he steals a ton of bases.  I think this is where I am supposed to mention SAGNOF, even though I don’t play that way.  Since 2012, Marte has stolen 53 bags, and was caught 20 times.  This gives him a 72.6% stolen base rate.  Fifty-eight players have stolen more than 30 bases since 2012.  Out of these players, Marte ranks forty-ninth in SB%.  If you play in any leagues that count net stolen bases, you have been warned: his 40 steals look more like 25.

I think this is also a good place to mention Marte’s first and second half splits.  In the past year or so, there are many players who started out hot, only to fizzle in the second half.  Jean Segura, Jason Kipnis, and Chris Davis are good examples of this.  It turns out that Marte can join this part-ay.  Here are his first/second half splits:

Half

PA

2B

HR

R

RBI

SO

SB

CS

AVG

1st Half 401 20 9 59 28 89 28 10 0.291
2nd Half 165 6 3 24 7 49 13 5 0.254

His DL stint, and the longer first half, make this data look skewed.  Here is what happens when you standardize his second half to 401 PA:

Half

PA

2B

HR

R

RBI

SO

SB

CS

AVG

1st Half 401 20 9 59 28 89 28 10 0.291
2nd Half 401 15 7 58 17 119 32 12 0.254

Okay, no one gets 801 PA in a season, but that’s not the point of the exercise.  The real point is that he is down almost across the board in the second half.  Here is another question to ask yourself: Is his second half going to carry over into 2014?  I think he ends up somewhere in between the two halves.

Hang in there, I’m down to my last point.  The table below shows all the pitches Marte saw in 2013:

Pitch Type

Count

K

AVG

SLG

Fourseam

740

43

0.269

0.532

Sinker

480

17

0.287

0.444

Slider

324

27

0.265

0.325

Curve

290

22

0.222

0.319

Change

188

17

0.222

0.244

Cutter

143

8

0.325

0.625

Split

27

3

0.250

0.375

Slow Curve

2

0

0.000

0.000

Marte saw 2194 pitches last year.  Over half of these pitches were fastballs or sinkers, two of his best hit pitches.  Marte had a lot of Trouble with the Curve and changeup.  Once pitchers figure out his weak pitches, they’re likely to exploit them.

Score: 4 out of 10

Overall Score: 10.5 out of 25

Weighted Score: 84%

Starling Marte?  More like Starling Farte.

Jeremy is a contributor for Razzball Baseball. He had a last name, but he lost it in ‘Nam.  You can follow the soldier of misfortune on twitter @Jeremy_Razzball, just don’t trigger his flashbacks.

## 61 Responses (Jump straight to the comment form)

1. simply fred says:

wow…i am behind the curve…thought i didn’t have any time to spare last winter…won’t get any sleep next winter…truly stupendous!

• Jeremy says:

@simply fred: Thanks for sparing some time for lil’ ol’ me.

2. Guy says:

Better side?
Marte for Salazar

• Jeremy says:

@Guy: Marte is safer. Salazar has high upside. Really depends on what you need/rest of your roster. In a vacuum, Marte is better. In 3 years…crossing fingers for Salazar.

3. Milby says:

It’s probably worth mentioning that he’s now wearing a protective elbow pad, and seems to be showing a significantly improved plate approach with 5 BBs in his first 7 games.

Methinks you might be selling him short.

• Jeremy says:

@Milby: You’re allowed to disagree. Didn’t know about the elbow pad, but you can still get hit in many other body parts (Omar Infante will tell you that). He also has 9 K’s already. And he has faced Edwin Jackson twice already, who gives walks away. It’s definitely a step in the correct direction though.

4. Principal Blackman says:

Love the title and the new format. This was a great read. I wasn’t opposed to owning Marte in the preseason, but I managed to miss out on him in all of my leagues, including my 16-team points league (which uses net steals in the formula), where he very nearly fell to me. You are making me feel pretty good about missing him. Thanks for that.

• Jeremy says:

@Principal Blackman: Thanks! Glad you like the format. All my titles are going to be references if I can work it out. He is much more valuable for SB than NSB (I have a league with NSB too). I’m down on him, not super down. If I had to summarize: high BABIP will come down to earth a bit…causing average to fall…causing counting stats to fall.

• Principal Blackman says:

@Jeremy: Might I suggest a B&B on Anibal Sanchez? You could call it Anibal House.

• Principal Blackman says:

@Jeremy: Nice.

• Principal Blackman says:

Working in the Cole Mine

• Jeremy says:

@Principal Blackman: Upton Girl. Wieters Block, Break a Craig. I like yours more.

• Principal Blackman says:

@Jeremy: I like Wieters Block a lot. Feel free to use any of these, of course. I have one more for you: Masterson of the Universe?

• Jeremy says:

@Principal Blackman: Nice again. I might end up with Canary in a Cole Mine instead though. Or Jonesing for a Fix. Bruce Lips Sink Ships? Burnin’ for Choo?

• Principal Blackman says:

@Jeremy: All good ones. How about Orale Votto for Razzball’s bilingual audience?

• Principal Blackman says:

@Jeremy: O Brothers, Where Art Thou?

• Principal Blackman says:

5. Gene Parmesan says:

Good post and really like the format your purporting, albeit changing, going forward. I suppose an 84% chance of Marte repeating his 2013 campaign isn’t too shabby, but I believe he’ll be at least as good, if not better in 2014.

I once read, and continue to revisit, a great book called “How to Lie with Statistics” by Darrel Ruff. In no means am I saying you’re fabricating the statistics you aforementioned, but your only touching on a handful of numbers that support your general premise: Expect a regression for Starling Marte in 2014.

Did you know that Marte successfully stole 100% of the 41 bases he was called safe on in 2013? How about roughly 1/3 of his total hits in 2013 went for extra bases? The first is statistic is erroneous, the second is absolutely true. I’m going to go old skool here, and simply project Marte to be a stud based solely upon the “eye test”. He looks the part, plays the part and is still young in his career. It would be foolish for anyone to bail on Marte this early in his 2nd season. He’s going to be a Top-30 hitter come year’s end.

• Jeremy says:

@Gene Parmesan: It’s actually you!!! http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m55k3eqcXx1qa0rit.gif I don’t think Marte is bad. If he can make improvements in his weaker areas, he has a lot of potential to be great. I like him more as a top 50 hitter. He is a rich man’s Aoki, with upside in HR and SB.

• Gene Parmesan says:

@Jeremy: It is me. I’ve just been under the radar for a little bit doing some reconnoissance. “Rich Man’s Aoki”? Oki-silly-dilly-okie-yo. Not a terrible comparison, but I got him slated a little higher than that.

• Jeremy says:

@Gene Parmesan: Yeah, maybe a very rich man’s Aoki. But really, R/RBI for both of them will be similar. Marte will hit 5-10 more HR and 15-20 more SB. Aoki will hit about .020-.040 better.

• RotisserieJedi says:

@Jeremy: Actaully in pre-season I saw a couple of other analysts quoting some (not all) of the stats you present here. I bought off on enough of those articles to end up with Marte on NONE of my many many teams. I know I’m succumbing to confirmation bias, but I appreciate the article and definitey look forward to seeing how it pans out. Cargo Jr. is also on my list of “tempting, but ….maybe not.” I’m sure you’ll keep working on the format, but I like this piece.

6. G says:

Hey Jeremy in a 12 team H2H. Whats your thoughts on offering beltran for marte straight up for someone in my league whos a yankee and beltran fan? To get an idea of my offensive lineup profile and if this traqde would be good for me, I have Jason Castro, Fielder, A. Hill, Zimmerman/Arenado, Segura/Villar, Bautista, Adam Jones, Beltran, Pujols.

BTW weekend at bernies the original is amazing – randomly the movie I have watched the most times ever. Sequel was great but original was a classic. Nice reference though. Thanks in advance.

• Jeremy says:

@G: You can try it. You could use the steals and you’re all set on power.

7. tom` says:

WOW! I was wondering, could you tel me the mating habits of a one legged sea anemone, during the fall solace. That’s in the Baltic sea of course. Thanks.

• Jeremy says:

@tom`: African or European sea anemone?

8. Johnny Oh So True says:

I’m in a 16-team, 30-man roster league 6×6 roto, saves and holds. I used approx. 320 of my 520 budget on hitting and my main lineup is immaculate. However, my best healthy pitcher was James Paxton. This league features one DL spot and one bench spot , so keeping him over Iwakuma seems poor.

My rotation:
Tim Hudson
Tanner Roark
Wily Peralta
Martin Perez
James Paxton (DL)
Hisashi Iwakuma (DL)

Options on wire:
Taylor Jordan
Jason Hammel
Felix Doubront
Kyle Kendrick
Brett Anderson
Trevor Bauer
Trevor Cahill
Zach Britton
And a bunch of NA’s and garbage plates.

I’m thinking to either punt starters and just go after saves and holds (10 overall slots for RP) or start streaming from this crowd. Could also easily dump Peralta and Roark. Opinions?

• Jeremy says:

@Johnny Oh So True: I’m sure this is unpopular, but you can trade a few bats for pitching? Otherwise, Jordan and Anderson have the most upside. You can try the saves/holds method, and that’s probably a better option with a league that deep. Only problem is that saves are a much hotter commodity than holds, and you’ll want 3-4 closers to make sure you lock down that category.

9. NoonTime says:

Replacement fodder for Hamilton’s roster spot:

Charlie Blackmon, Col OF
Yangervis Solarte, NYY OF
Casey McGehee, Mia 1B
Abraham Almonte, Sea OF

16 team… Some kind of points league.. strikeouts are bad. Only have 13 waiver wire moves for the year so i’m sorta stuck with my pick. There is a keeper element if any of the above pan out but most interested in help for the next 6-8 weeks.

I have Werth and Zimmerman too so it’s only a matter of time before one of them get hurt too.

Maybe Kelly Johnson for his versatility?

• Jeremy says:

@NoonTime: Oh wow I didn’t know he got hurt. Just traded him away in 1 league, still have him in another. Oh well. Blackmon is hot now, I’d expect him to cool off. Solarte is the same way, and I don’t see him getting a ton of playing time. Almonte is your best bet, hitting in front of Cano/Miller/Seager/Smoak.

10. The Guru says:

Hughie Jennings was the man!

11. HLizzy says:

Should I trade Matt Wieters for Johnny Cueto?

• Jeremy says:

@HLizzy: You get Cueto? Hell yes.

12. zaron says:

What do you think of Craig Gentry? I think he could put up similar numbers to 2013 Marte, with 8 less HRs.
Reddick is really struggling offensively and Crisp has health issues so I think its possible Gentry will get 400 ABs this year.

• Jeremy says:

@zaron: He won’t get the ABs. 400 is still only about 66% of a season. You can extrapolate his past numbers to 400 AB if you want, but he will still be lacking in R/RBI/HR.

13. zaron says:

Just noticed the Gibson reference. That one is deep.

• Jeremy says:

@zaron: Gibson reference? Maybe I’m missing something.

• JoeC says:

@Jeremy: Apparently, too deep.

14. Eric the Good says:

You lost me with that ridiculous statement about WaB2 is better than the original. The first movie was amazing; the sequel blew chunks. Show the classic some damn respect!

Now what’s all this about Marte?

• Jeremy says:

@Eric the Good: Fair enough. Who am I to impose my opinions onto you?

15. slicke5 says:

Pretty surprised not to see Ike Davis on the HBP list.

• Jeremy says:

@slicke5: I’m not sure if this is a joke or not? I just checked his HBP numbers…4 in his career. Almost 3 seasons of games, and he has 4 HBP. Balls stay away from him. He probably smells funky.

• JoeC says:

@Jeremy: I think the Razzball consensus is that he stands too far away from the plate to A) hit the ball or B) get hit by the ball.

16. Kato says:

I like your new “style” and the comparison between now and then. It’s something new and unique for this site.
Really like to see if it pans out. Especially with the scoring system. It looks well-founded.
However it kinda look hard to weight the grade, is it a “3.1” or a “3.2”…
Definitely a blog I will check out constantly.

(and no, no Player X vs. Player Y Question here, we’ve the forum to do that.)

• Jeremy says:

@Kato: Glad you liked it. I’ve got a few other positive notes, so I’ll try this format out again. The grading is the hardest part. I try to give a number based on the results above it. Obviously bias is inherent, but I guess that’s true in all of this stuff. I don’t mind most of the questions, although some require a lot of thought.

17. Clint says:

So given this information, would you say trading Marte for Braun is fair value and one you’d pursue in a 10 player keeper league? I had Marte pegged as a keeper but I have Taveras and Springer in my prospect spots right now too with a few other young looker bats on the wire I may snatch. I guess my question is: whose future looks more certain at this point?

• Jeremy says:

@Clint: Is there any cost associated with a keeper? Either in terms of \$ values or rounds lost? Any restrictions on the number of years players can be kept? Braun’s production is there, but he is any injury risk. Marte proved himself decently last year. If he can grow over the next few years, good for him. But it’s definitely not a certainty at this point.

• Clint says:

@Jeremy:

The league’s just starting so basically they just agreed to 5 keepers for next season in a 12 team 5×5 roto league. I wanted to discuss limits on years guys are kept but they put it off until at least next year.

• Jeremy says:

@Clint: If the league is just pick 5 keepers, and they replace the first 5 rounds, then I’m giving Braun the edge for the next 3 years. After that, age catches up with him and Marte has all that delectable upside.

18. Lville Jim says:

Interesting stuff, it pays to dig a little deeper.

19. LightBlack says:

Guy needs an OF in league, was actually thinking of offering Marte before I read this article. I have two potential offers I have dug for. Send him for either Gardner and Minor or Calhoun and Cashner. Which of these two in a 10 team 5×5 OBP do you think would be the better? Having a hard time deciding. If not that, what are some guys for a 1 on 1 swap that come to mind. Would be looking for a swap in power and sb I suppose. He’s my second outfielder behind Harper and with Gordon,Cuddyer,Jackson,Aoki,Eaton I think I can afford to move him for the right deal. 4 OF spots used in league. Whatcha think?

• Jeremy says:

@LightBlack: I like Gardner/Minor more than Calhoun/Cashner. You’ll lose out on some HR, but you’ll make it up in OBP and SB. Plus, Minor is a better pitcher than Cashner, not that Cashner is bad. You really have too many OF, are you lacking in other positions?

20. LightBlack says:

Not really, I mean I would like to have maybe a tad more power and tad less batter k’s but without sacrificing too much sb. Other than Marte I don’t a real 30 plus threat. My pitching is top heavy, but I’m a touch worried about Salazar in that he may be hurt. Since I already lost Corbin and dropped Kennedy for Skaggs I wouldn’t mind securing a guy like Minor for just in case. Here’s my full roster. Three keepers(Goldy,Ortiz,Darvish).

c.Lucroy
1.Goldy
2.Dozier
ss.B.Miller
3rd. Lawrie
Ci. Ortiz
Mi. Rendon
OF. Harper
OF. Marte
OF. Cuddyer
OF. Gordon
Utl. A.Jackson
Utl. A.Rizzo

Bn. Owings
Bn. Aoki
Bn. Eaton

Sp. Darvish
Sp. Strasburg
Sp. Sale
Sp. Salazar
Rp. Perkins
Rp. Frieri
Rp. Santos
P. Kazmir
P. Soria
Bn. Skaggs
Bn. Veras
DL. J.Johnson

• Jeremy says:

@LightBlack: Your pitching is stupid good. Try trading Stras or Darvish for Kipnis.

• LightBlack says:

@Jeremy:

That’s actually not too bad of an idea. If I could pull off marte for gardner/Minor then that would offset losing Stras or Darvish. I might even be able to get Kipnis + if I play my cards right or throw someone else in they like of my bottom roster. I’ll see what’s out there.

• LightBlack says:

@Jeremy:

Actually the same dude that has Minor and Gardner has Kipnis Ha. Marte and maybe Salazar or Kazmir, Veras? for Gardner/Minor/Kpinis. If I can pull that off..prolly not but I’ll try. If I had to switch Salazar for Stras or Darvish I prolly don’t do the trade though. While I like Minor, we still dn’t know if he is good to go fully. Thanks for the advice man.

• Jeremy says:

@LightBlack: If you think he’s going to take Salazar/Marte for Kipnis/Minor/Gardner, you’re off your rocker. Darvish/Marte for Kipnis/Gardner/Minor is more fair.

• LightBlack says:

@Jeremy:

Lol, oh I know he wouldn’t that. I was going to add Soria or Veras…still prolly not. Marte for Kipnis might be woth a try or ass Dozier or Owings and try to get Minor maybe or even Gardner. These guys are smart, but once in awhile you might get one sleeping.

21. Lemmingness says: