The New York Mets agree with the free agent center fielder, Starling mars, pending a physical exam. It’s the culmination of a shocking night for the Mets, who have also come to terms with the infielder Eduardo Escobar and outfielder Mark Canha in the last hours. It’s a $ 78MM four-year warranty for Mars.
Marte was this offseason’s free agent center-field class award, easily the top pick in an otherwise thin market. A 2016 All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, he’s coming off perhaps the best season of his ten-year Major League career:
Marte split the 2021 campaign between the Miami Marlins and the Oakland Athletics, posting a line of .310 / .383 / .458 with 12 homers and 47 stolen bases, the best MLB mark, in just 120 games.
A rib fracture cost Mars more than a month of action between April and May, but it was as productive as ever when it returned. After adjusting for pitcher-friendly home parks he played in, Mars’ hitting was only 34 percentage points better than the league average, as measured by wRC +. That’s the best of his career, and the speedy outfielder added a lot more offensive value on top of that with an incredible base run.
Not only was he the most prolific base robber in the game, but he was successful in 90.4% of his attempts, an incredible success rate considering opposing pitchers were well aware of the threat he posed every time he reached base.
While Marte might be coming off his best season, he has been a consistently above-average player for most of his career. His 2021 campaign was the most extreme version of a generally stable skill set: lots of balls in play, high-level grassroots races, and an all-field approach that makes him difficult to defend:
Mars’ .372 batting average on balls in play last season was one of the highest in the league, but he has always had a knack for turning batted balls into hits. So while that BABIP may go back a bit in 2022, it is more likely to fall back closer to the .344 mark of its career compared to the league average of .292.
Marte is an aggressive hitter and has never had a season with an above-average walk rate. His 8.2% walking percentage in 2021 was his personal best, and his patience dropped significantly after he was traded from Miami to Oakland mid-season.
However, his free-swinging ways also keep his strikeouts low, as the Dominican Republic native hasn’t been struck out in more than 20% of his plate appearances in a season since 2014.
So while Mars doesn’t get a lot of passports, he nonetheless generally handles solid numbers on base based on batting averages that regularly push (or, in the case of 2021, exceed) .300.
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MLB: From another planet; Mets deals with outfielder Starling Marte for four years