Starling Marte’s Offense is Starting to Come Back to Life

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 18: Starling Marte
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 18: Starling Marte /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have gotten a huge boost offensively from Starling Marte in recent weeks

After serving an 80-game PED suspension, Starling Marte returned to action on July 18th. As one could expect, he struggled in his first few weeks back from the disabled list. Since the start of August, however, Marte’s offensive prowess has started to return.

In his first 12 games back from his suspension Starling Marte struggled immensely at the plate. In 56 plate appearances he owned a 3.6 percent walk rate, 23.2 percent strikeout rate, a .304 on-base percentage, an ISO of .019, a .260 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 58. This is nowhere near the hitter that Marte is capable of being and has been in the past.

Ever since the calendar flipped to August, Starling Marte has started to be more like the hitter Pirate fans had come to know. Since the start of August Marte has started to hit for more power, he has used his speed, he has been a menace on the basepaths, and he is starting to hit the ball with authority once more.

After going 3-for-5 including his first home run since returning from suspension in last night’s game Starling Marte now has 80 plate appearances in August. He owns both an 8.8 percent walk and strikeout rate, a .388 on-base percentage, .127 ISO, .360 wOBA, and a 123 wRC+. He is also 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts.

Starling Marte has also been hitting the ball with more authority and is beginning to drive the ball once again. After owning a concerningly low 12.8 percent hard contact rate, a 13.5 percent line drive rate, and a far too high 51.4 percent groundball rate in his first 12 games back, these numbers have improved immensely in August. This month Marte owns a 31.3 percent hard contact rate and a 24.2 percent line drive rate, both of which are above

This month Marte owns a 31.3 percent hard contact rate and a 24.2 percent line drive rate, both of which are above league average. His groundball rate, while still a little higher than you would like to see, has dropped by over five points to 46.1 percent. Starling Marte is a player that has always been able to overcome a high groundball rate though due to his elite speed.

This is a pretty simple equation. More hard contact and more line drives equal more base hits, especially extra base hits. Also, fly balls are more likely to become base hits than groundballs are. In these areas, Marte is trending upward once again.

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In the month of August Starling Marte has returned to hitting the ball like Pirate fans came to expect from him. It is great to see Marte starting to get back on track following his suspension. Getting him back on track before the end of the 2017 season will bode very well for the 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates.