Well, if You Insist on Extending Starling . . .

Given Rob Biertempfel’s report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, this morning, that the Pirates are attempting to sign Starling Marte to a contract extension, I felt the need to remind my readers why I am “Still not Sold on Starling.”

Marte’s career K/BB ratio is 5.5. That’s not good. Since 1950, only six non-pitchers with more than 1,000 career plate appearances have had K/BB ratios of 5.5 or worse. Their career OPSs range from .558 to .707.

Marte’s career batting average on balls in play is .356. That makes his batting line a crap shoot. Since 1950, only 3.5% percent of hitters with more than 1,000 career plate appearances have had a BABIP over .330.

Further, Marte’s on-base percentage is highly dependent upon his “ability” to get hit by pitches. He failed to get out of the way 24 times last year. If he had not been hit by any pitches, his OBP would have been just .313.

You can see the rest of my warning and my projection for Marte’s 2014 season at Still Not Sold on Starling.

10 thoughts on “Well, if You Insist on Extending Starling . . .

  1. Richard,
    This is a gamble move but a move that a small market team must make to order to keep the “core” players. Sign early to beat the market value like Cutch and Tabata. Tabata will have to continue what he did last year though to prove this was a good move.

    It would not be surprising to see Marte drop next year only to get better a couple years down the road. I think this is a good move if you expect Marte to develop into a 20 -25 HR a year guy, he then also becomes your No. 5 hitter (I don’t know if he is that guy). With the BAIP that you stated along with the documented K rate he is not your prototypical lead off hitter.

    • He will provide value with his defense even if his hitting drops off significantly. I don’t think the terms of an extension should be based on his offensive numbers from last year. I don’t think he should be expected to hit that well in the future.

      • I think marte will grow and mature as a player. May be wishful thinking or being neive, but I think marte will be a solid .280 hitter with 35 plus stolen bases and maybe get up to 20 home runs a year. I would live to see him bat 6th as like a table setter for the bottom of the order and also a little as a run producer once polanco is established and able to take the leadoff spot. The bases should be clear if Pedro is hitting in front of him so he can have opportunities to run batting lower in the order

  2. Richard, I would be curious if there is any historical precedent of a players with historical bad K/BB ratios improving their K/BB ratio? If you have a lot of time on your hands, that would be a great article.

  3. Honestly, I think the Pirates outfield of the future will be Polanco/McCutchen/ Snider/Tabata. Snider or Tabata will realize his potential and Marte can be traded.

    • It would be interesting to see what kind of return they would eventually get for Marte. They are eventually going to have to trade veterans for prospects in order to stay contenders and not just have a “window.”

  4. My Prediction (and I don’t know the numbers offered, but…) If Marte is smart, he’ll take the extension now, because, like Richard, I believe his offensive numbers will drop.

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