Starling Marte has been a firecracker for the New York Mets early on this year and yet he isn’t being used the way many of us thought he could or should be. He opened the season in right field where he has spent all of his time this year. He also isn’t hitting at the top of the order with the lone exception being Opening Day when Brandon Nimmo was out.
Even in Nimmo’s absence due to COVID, the team hasn’t pivoted from what they’ve been doing with Marte. He remains in right field and has been hitting second for the team regularly.
When the Mets inked him to a free agent deal this offseason, some initial thought was that he would not only bat leadoff often but he’d also play center field. For better or worse, the Mets have used him differently. Why fix what ain’t broke?
The Mets starting lineup has featured Starling Marte in a different role than anticipated
If the Mets were playing miserably right now, imagine the takes on social media. Marte would be called a bust. Fans would be foaming at the digital mouths to take down him for being too old or injured to man center field. Buck Showalter would be getting rung out with expletives even your most unfiltered uncle wouldn’t say.
Instead, because the Mets have played relatively well early on, Marte’s differing role than anticipated has been lauded—for the most part.
It’s still incredibly early to begin wondering whether or not Marte was the right fit for the Mets. He has provided them with enough offense and clutch-hitting to put him within the circle of trust. As we all know, it’s a circle with a revolving door. One golden sombrero later, reactionary fans could be ready to run him out of town.
Marte’s lack of starts in center field and continued presence in the two-hole may come as somewhat of a surprise. Jeff McNeil has been getting regular at-bats in the number one spot now which works, too.
Marte was bound to move to one of the corner spots eventually during the length of his four-year deal he signed with the Mets. Starting it with year one is fine as long as center field doesn’t become its own dark abyss and Marte continues to hit well in whichever outfield position he claims.