Analysis: Starling Marte is having a fantastic September for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Let’s take a look at his month by month production in 2017.
Starling Marte is a big time piece for the Pittsburgh Pirates. When he was suspended at the beginning of the year it really put a damper on the Bucs season. Not only was the number four hitter in Jung-Ho Kang not eligible to enter the United States, but now their most dynamic player would miss half the season. On top of that suspension, Marte also got off to a really slow start in his first two weeks of the season.
When the season started, nobody knew that Starling Marte would be suspended. The Pittsburgh Pirates even claimed that they did not know until the night before they announced the suspension to the public. So when he got off to a slow start, many were disappointed and confused about why he was struggling. Through his first two and a half weeks of the season, he had 54 at-bats and slashed .241/.288/.370. He owned a strikeout rate of 28.8 percent with a 0.18 walk to strikeout rate. He also had a BAbip of .306 suggesting he was performing to about what he should have. Then of course came the suspension. Some started to give Marte the benefit of the doubt that in the back of his head he knew he failed the drug test in Spring and that his mind was not in the game.
Return from Suspension
Marte missed out on the rest of April, and all of May and June. He came off his suspension on July 18th. The Pittsburgh Pirates were somewhat hanging around in the race still. Fans thought that this was almost like a trade acquisition for them. Unfortunately, his July was not better than his April. His slash-line in July was .250/.304/.269. His strikeout was a little lower, but was still at a very high 23.2 percent. Even more alarming was his drop off in his power numbers. His wRC+ in April was already low at 73, in July it was 57. His ISO was .019.
August and September
However, once again this was somewhat expected. Of course, the jokes were going around that him being off PED’s led to his power decrease. Really, it was just transitioning back to live games and playing every day. August fared much better for Marte compared to his other months. His slash-line for the month of August finished at .265/.331/.372. His strikeout rate dropped dramatically to 12.9 percent, and his ISO went back up over .100 to .106.
Of course, September has been his most promising month. Steroids or not, Starling Marte has returned to form that fans have come to expect from him. He has a slash-line of .306/.378/.472. He has put up 17.1 strikeout rate, but also owns a decent 9.8 percent walk rate. His ISO is at a season-high .167, and his wRC+ is as a strong 125. Also, he has a BABip of .339, which is somewhat high, but suggests he is not getting overly lucky. Hopefully, this is the Starling Marte that the Pittsburgh Pirates get in 2018 for a full season.