The New York Mets brought Starling Marte to town for a couple of reasons this offseason. His bat, his ability to play center field, and leadership qualities are three of them.
Another, this one is a very specific skill, is his speed. Marte is coming off of a 47 stolen base season—tying his previous high. The Mets haven’t had anyone steal over 40 in more than a decade. In fact, they haven’t even had a 30 base stealer since 2014.
A short Mets drought to end, Starling Marte can be the first to steal 30 bases since Eric Young Jr. in 2014
The Mets haven’t been a stolen base-friendly squad in recent years. Curtis Granderson led the team with 11 in 2015. The following season, Jose Reyes topped the charts with only 9.
Last year, it seemed like Francisco Lindor could be a challenger for a 30 stolen base season. He ended up with only 10, falling one shy of the team leader, Jonathan Villar. It may have been a little ambitious to think Lindor could reach 30. He never did before. Marte, on the other hand, has averaged well over 30 per 162 games in his career.
In parts of ten big league seasons, Marte has crossed over the 30 stolen base threshold six times. Three of those seasons included less than 81 games played. When Marte has been able to log what accounts for a full year, 30 bases have been easy to come by.
Per 162 games, Marte is stealing 42 bases. It’s an average not many players in today’s game come close to. Somewhat quietly, Marte has been one of the league’s better players at thievery on the base paths over the last decade.
Marte is fourth among active players in career stolen bases with 296. Ahead of him, we have Dee Strange-Gordon, Elvis Andrus, and Billy Hamilton. Those three are closer to the twilight of their careers than Marte. The new Mets outfielder is coming off one of the best seasons of his career while those three are hanging on.
Despite being 34, Marte hasn’t shown signs of slowing down on the bases. In fact, last year he was only caught 5 times in 52 attempts. Marte appears to have grown into a smarter base runner as well as a more prolific one.
The 30 stolen bases in a season drought held by the Mets isn’t as notable as others—like five straight seasons of not making the postseason. Even if Marte comes up short of actually hitting 30, his speed is going to be a factor and one the Mets haven’t had much of in almost a decade.