As quick as he is on the basepaths, that’s how fast Starling Marte has become an essential piece to the Athletics’ success. In the same breath, he’s being compared to the greatest base-stealer in MLB history: Rickey Henderson.
On numbers alone, Marte leads the majors with 42 stolen bases this season. But let’s also take a look at how he compares to the Hall of Famer who spent 14 seasons with the A’s.
-In Henderson’s first 28 games with Oakland in 1979, he was 20 years old. He slashed .272/.320/.289, with seven runs, two doubles, seven RBI, 10 stolen bases, and only was caught stealing three times.
-In Henderson’s first 28 games back with Oakland in 1989, he was 30 years old. He slashed .373/.463/.520, with 31 runs, six doubles, three home runs, 16 RBI, 15 stolen bases, and was caught stealing three times.
-Henderson’s first 28 games back with Oakland in 1994, he was 34 years old, slashing .223/.393/.319 with 18 runs, six doubles, one home run, six RBI, 3 stolen bases, & was caught stealing fives times.
- Henderson's first 28 games back with Oakland in 1998, he was 39 years old. He slashed .224/.346/.318, with 16 runs, four doubles, two homers, 11 RBI, seven stolen bases, and was caught stealing three times.
Now for Marte …
-In Marte’s first 28 games with Oakland, the 32-year-old is slashing .342/.375/.458 with 16 runs, eight doubles, two home runs, 14 RBI, 20 stolen bases … and hasn’t been caught stealing once since sporting the Green and Gold.
A’s manager Bob Melvin made the comparison himself.
“Similar to Rickey, he’s in top speed within two steps, and there are guys that are fast and he’s obviously fast, but it’s how quickly he accelerates and gets the top speed that I think really sets him apart as far as base stealers go,” Melvin said Sunday.
The A’s acquired Marte before the MLB trade deadline from the Miami Marlins and since then, he has been a force for the team. So much so that Melvin is giving him the ultra-green light to handle the bases as he sees fit.
“As green as it can be,” Melvin said.
Melvin said during spring training that while some base runners receive that green light at some point, Marte is in a world of his own.
“Marte is a whole different deal,” Melvin said. “You’re around him long enough to realize he takes it seriously. He’s not just running to run and you’ve seen his percentage, so he has a great idea when to run. I think the more range you give him, maybe the more power you give him, I think he’s stolen more bases here, or close to it than in Miami.”
Marte had 22 stolen bags with the Marlins, 20 in Oakland.
“He’s made us a different team,” Melvin added. “We haven’t looked like this in quite some time.”