Selective Starling staying in the zone

August 9th, 2020

In his first season with the D-backs, outfielder has gotten off to a good start at the plate, in large part because he’s done a good job at not swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone.

Entering Sunday, Marte, who was acquired from the Pirates during the offseason in exchange for a pair of Minor Leaguers, is third in the National League in on-base percentage (.464) and bWAR (1.1).

“I’ve been really working on making sure that I’m swinging at good pitches in the zone and taking the low pitches away, leaving them down,” Marte said. “I’m not really chasing outside the zone. I’ve been able to string together a couple of line drives and then really take my pitches and get good pitches to hit in the zone.”

The numbers back up what Marte is saying. His chase percentage -- the percentage of pitches outside of the strike zone that he is swinging at -- is 25%, according to Statcast. Last year with the Pirates, his chase percentage was 33%.

The average chase rate in the Major Leagues this year is 28%.

“Through the coaches, [Darnell Coles], Drew Hedman, Eric Hinske, we’ve been able to get a lot of work done and really focus in on getting good pitches to hit in the zone,” Marte said. “They’ve helped me tremendously. Pitchers know I like to swing at pitches that are really close to the zone or maybe a bit outside. Thankfully, this year I’ve been able to focus on getting good pitches to hit and on pitches inside the zone.”