ShareThis Page
Pirates

Pirates' Starling Marte using his 'gift' of speed more via stolen bases and bunts

Chris Adamski
| Monday, July 9, 2018, 7:48 p.m.
Philadelphia Phillies' Scott Kingery (4) has the ball pop out of his glove as Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte, left, steals second base in the third inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, July 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Philadelphia Phillies' Scott Kingery (4) has the ball pop out of his glove as Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte, left, steals second base in the third inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, July 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Five-decade baseball junkie Clint Hurdle mused Monday that Starling Marte “has a gift of closing speed like few men I have ever seen play the game.”

“Sometimes he gets jumps (on stolen-base attempts), and I’ll be like ‘(Oh no!),’ and then I’ll watch everything transpire and (Marte is) safe… I’ve watched some pretty good guys steal bases. This guy steals them with ease sometimes. Enough other guys get thrown out to know it’s not that easy. He’s got a gift, and he’s trying to use his gift in more intentional fashion.”

Marte entered Monday’s game tied for third in MLB with 22 steals. Perhaps more impressively, none of the players in the top six has been thrown out more than the four times Marte has been caught. Hurdle lauded the increased film work Marte has done this season because it’s made him a more cerebral base stealer.

Sunday’s game showed Marte’s blazing speed both by way of a steal and via two bunt singles. Those gave Marte 15 infield hits this season, tied for the fourth most in the National League. In each of the past five seasons, Marte has finished among the top 11 in the NL in infield hits.

According to fangraphs.com, Marte getting a bunt down is a 50 percent proposition for a base hit: he’s 3 for 6 this season and 36 for 72 in his career.

Though Sunday’s two bunt singles were just the second and third for Marte in 2018, Hurdle noted that in his estimation Marte squares to bunt at least once per game.

“He’s well aware of the bunt being a weapon for him….He understands the value of it,” Hurdle said.

“I think he uses it appropriately and I think he uses it in a smart fashion.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me