Suddenly, a veteran outfielder who was once a Kang Jeong-ho teammate joined Bae Ji-hwan (Pittsburgh Pirates).
Starling Marte (35, New York Mets) added two stolen bases in a series against the Chicago Cubs on April 25-26. He didn’t steal a base against the Colorado Rockies on July 27, but has three steals in his last six games and 14 on the season.
Along with Marte, Corbin Carroll 스포츠토토 (23, Arizona Diamondbacks) stole his 14th base of the season on May 25 against the Philadelphia Phillies. He didn’t add another stolen base until the 27th against the Boston Red Sox. In the end, Marte and Carroll are tied for second in the National League in stolen bases with Bae Ji-Hwan and Jaz Chizom Jr. (Miami Marlins).
If Bae, Carroll, and Chizom Jr. are young bloods, Marte is a veteran outfielder. After debuting with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, he has played for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins, and Oakland Athletics before joining the New York Mets for the 2022 season. He is in the second season of a four-year, $78 million contract.
In 118 games in 2022, he batted .292 with 16 home runs, 63 RBI, 76 runs scored, 18 doubles, and an OPS of .815. This season, he’s batting .235 with two home runs, 14 RBI, 17 runs scored, 14 doubles, and a .593 OPS in 47 games. While his numbers are down, his stolen base rate is much steeper than last year. He’s only been caught stealing three times this season.
He’s a veteran, so his midseason stamina can wane, and he hasn’t been hitting well this season, but he’s still managed to steal 328 bases in his major league career. He had 41 steals in 2013 and 47 in 2016 and 2021. He’s also a familiar face to Korean fans, having played alongside Kang Jeong-ho in the early to mid-2010s. Bae is a new type of competitor.
Bae went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored on the day against the Seattle Mariners, but he didn’t get a chance to steal a base. He hasn’t attempted to steal a base in four consecutive games since stealing one against the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 21. The timing wasn’t right either.
The National League stolen base race is dominated by Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves, 22 stolen bases). He’s already eight ahead of the second-place group, including Bae Ji-hwan. With his explosive athleticism, he’s on pace for at least 50 steals. It won’t be easy for Bae to catch up to Akuna. But it’s nice to have a good competition for second place.