Positive signs seen with Mets's struggling right fielder

By Felix Hawthorne July 18, 2023

A challenging season marked by injury slows Starling Marte, but the player and his team, the Mets, remain cautiously optimistic for a resurgence in form, crucial to their future triumphs.

The crucial role of Starling Marte in the previous season's success of the Mets was underscored when a hamstring injury benched him. During his absence, the team accrued a moderate 14-10 record. Such a major contribution was less evident this season, as various issues seem to have disrupted his performance.

In his second year of a four-year contract, the right fielder's game appears shaken by comparison to his former brilliance. Witnessed is a set of mediocre stats including a .254 batting average, an OPS of .640, and a disappointing OPS+ of 80, trailing the average score by 20 points. The inefficiencies extend to his pace in the outfield, which has faltered noticeably, and his poor execution leading to negative runs for the Mets side.

The apparent slump in Marte's game has been sporadically punctuated by flickers of former efficacy. Buck Showalter, the team’s manager, reflects on these infrequent instances of Marte's expected flair, hoping that consistency will prevail. However, according to Marte himself, the path to recovering last season's form isn't devoid of obstacles.

Still grappling with pain from double groin surgery carried out in the off-season, Marte admits that his batting game has taken a toll. Through registered translator Alan Suriel, he explains that although running doesn't pose a challenge, the groin issue inhibits the rotation needed while batting, thus compromising his exerted power. Hidden allusions by Showalter and more direct references by scouts solidify the groin concern, which, Marte states optimistically, has seen improvement through targeted strength training.

This season, Marte's proficiency with runners in scoring position has dwindled significantly, a fact highlighted during a match against the Milwaukee Brewers. The trail of his struggle can be seen in an attendance member's viral outcry, lamenting his over-ambitious swings. Despite struggling on the pitch, Marte maintains a receptiveness to recognition of his underperformance in 2023.

Yet, the Mets administration hold firm in their belief in Marte's imminent bounce-back, choosing to keep the specifics close to their chest. Showalter loosely hints at positive trends based on analyst Natalie Maurice's evaluation, indicating better times ahead.

However patchy, the Mets wrap their last 10 matches with a 6-4 score. Marte brought to the table eight runs out of 30, a home run, four RBIs and three stolen bases. His propensity for speed while on base keeps him dangerous on the field. Aging and injury offer plausible explanations for his struggle but assign no firm answer. Following a single-day break due to a migraine, Marte returned to contribute to a victorious match against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Marte, and consequently the Mets, remain poised for an eventual turn of tide. As Marte himself states, they simply need to keep pushing forward, regardless of the challenges.