Quick follow-up on my "Starling Marte" is the most underrated player in baseball piece. I forgot to add this tidbit: The Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder had 16 assists overall and led all left fielders with 15. But here's the interesting part. Ten of the 16 assists were on the batter trying to stretch a hit (nine of those were singles, one was a double). Most baserunner kills are on baserunners trying to take an extra base, not batter/runners, so it's a pretty unique ratio. Here's his full list of assists:
April 20: Anthony Rizzo thrown at home trying to score from second on a base hit.
April 26: Ender Inciarte out trying to stretch a single.
May 20: Trevor Plouffe out at third trying to go first to third on a base hit.
May 31: Double play, throws out Derek Norris at home plate, tagging from third.
July 3: Yan Gomes out trying to stretch a single.
July 20: Mike Moustakas out trying to stretch a single after an RBI hit.
July 21: Eric Hosmer out trying to stretch a single throw actually went to third baseman Brent Morel covering second.
July 25: Throws out Jose Lobaton at home, trying to score on a base hit.
July 31: Throws out Brandon Phillips at home in the ninth inning to preserve 5-4 lead.
Aug. 4: Rizzo flies into a force, with Chris Denorfia thrown out at third. I'm guessing this was a soft liner or blooper that Denorfia had to hold up on.
Aug. 18: Keith Hessler out trying to stretch a single (leading off the 15th inning).
Aug. 25: Adeiny Hechavarria out at third base trying to stretch a double.
Sept. 16: Tommy La Stella out trying to stretch a single in the 11th inning.
Sept 18: A 7-2-4 relay to nail Justin Ruggiano after an RBI single.
Sept. 20: Alex Guerrero out at second trying to stretch a single.
Oct. 4: Phillips out at second trying to stretch a single.
A fun list. Here's the throw to nail Phillips in July to preserve the 5-4 win for the Pirates. Here he is gunning down the speedy Inciarte. Here's the throw to nab the over-aggressive Hosmer. Then there's this play, which I somehow missed when it happened. Dude, really? You are not aware of my arm? I'm not even going to try and I'm going to throw you out.
I suspect this was one of those years where runners tried crazy things against Marte's arm. He had just 10 assists over the previous two seasons, as runners quickly learned not to challenge him. You can bet they won't test him quite so often in 2016.