It is no secret that so many things have broken the way of the New York Mets this season. But perhaps the smartest investment the Mets made to bolster their lineup was that of Starling Marte.
Marte began playing under a four-year, $78 million contract this season, and he’s worth every single penny of that contract so far. So far, he’s batting .299 with 11 home runs, 48 runs driven in, 60 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, and a wRC+ of 134.
Starling Marte has been the dynamic difference maker the Mets have been waiting for since Carlos Beltran.
After a slow start, in which he batted just .224, he’s been a hitting machine for the Mets. His .322 average since May 1 ranks third in the NL behind Paul Goldschmidt and Freddie Freeman, and sixth in all of baseball.
Marte has set up so many things for this Mets offense, with how he’s been hitting, and compliments the other strengths the other Mets’ stars have very well. Entering play on Friday, Marte had been hitting .336 with a .922 OPS against left-handed pitching, something the Mets have had trouble handling in the past.
Also, for a team that tends to fare better offensively on the road rather than at Citi Field, Marte is hitting .333 at Citi Field while his mark on the road is .269. He has picked up big hits in front of the Flushing faithful, most recently the walk-off hit against Wandy Peralta of the Yankees in the Subway Series last week.
His presence on base makes the opposition react in not such a great way, giving them distractions when facing Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso. 32 of the 49 times in which he scored not by the long ball were when either of the two RBI leaders for the Mets (91 for Alonso and 74 for Lindor) knocked him in.
Also, in a lineup where five Mets have walk rates of 9.0 percent or higher, Marte’s is low at 4.7 percent. It’s low because he’s been aggressive at the plate and lets the ball come to him. He’s putting the ball in play, and has hustled from the batter’s box when he is 100 percent (he hasn’t lately because of his nagging groin issue). His hustle fits brilliantly with the team culture and chemistry that’ve come together in Flushing this season. And it doesn’t matter if you’re up by a run or down by six, he will play hard no matter what.
Starling Marte has simply thrown into the Mets’ game the intangibles the roster around them lacks, and puts them into practice on gameday, and that’s why he’s been not only an All-Star, but someone who is going to be featured on some voters’ MVP ballots this fall.