Suddenly, the National League’s stolen base race is alive and well. A 35-year-old veteran is making waves in the National League stolen base race, which is dominated by young blood in their 20s.
Starling Marte (35, New York Mets) is no stranger to Korean Major League Baseball fans. He debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012 and played until 2019, teaming up with Kang Jung-ho. Marte is also a veteran. He played for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins before signing a four-year, $78 million contract with the New York Mets in free agency in 2021-2022.
He has a .288 career batting average and a .791 OPS, and he hit over 20 home runs in 2018 and 2019. He also drove in more than 80 runs twice. This season, however, his bat hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, as he’s batting .245 with two home runs, 16 RBIs, and a .620 OPS.
He also has a .311 on-base percentage, but there’s one area where he’s showing incredible pace: stolen bases. On March 3, he stole his 17th base of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays. What’s even more amazing is that he only missed three times. An 85% success rate on stolen bases. On April 1 against the Miami Marlins, April 18 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and April 23 against the San Francisco Giants.
He is second in the National League in stolen bases, having added nine since May. He added two more in June before catching a break against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 4. Marte has a narrow lead over third-place Corbin Carroll (Arizona Diamondbacks, 16 stolen bases), fourth-place Bae Ji-Hwan (Pittsburgh Pirates, 15 stolen bases), 메이저사이트 fifth-place Jayson Chisome Jr. (Miami Marlins) and Nico Hounsou (Chicago Cubs, 14+). He is two ahead of Bae.
Seven behind Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves, 24 steals), who leads the National League in stolen bases this year. The gap between Acuna and the top runners was about 10, but Marte’s recent surge has narrowed the gap between the top two to seven.
For Marte, it all comes down to fitness. Even young players who play a lot of full-time baseball lose their stamina and their batting pace drops. If you can’t hit, you can’t get on base, so being healthy and hitting well is the most important thing for stealing bases consistently.
Marte may not be producing at the plate, but his 331 career stolen bases are hard to ignore. It will be interesting to see how long Carroll, the top rookie in the National League, will be able to hold his own between the explosive Bae and the monster hitter Acuna.