Pod screenings 2022: Ketel Marte
Pod 2022 projections are now available and include over 550 player predictions! As usual in my Pod Projection articles, I’ll dive into my projection methodology (detailed in Projecting X 2.0) by sharing my process across multiple hitters and pitchers.
2022 Pod Throw Index
Take a walk Franco
Ketel Marte had a breakout season in 2019 after years in the replacement-level pool in shallower mixed leagues. It wasn’t just a fantastic breakout that netted 32 home runs, 10 interceptions and a .329 batting average. He also posted a sizzling .405 wOBA, so he stepped up his offense dramatically. Obviously, it was understandable to wonder if his new offense and more specifically his power were enduring. If you had only looked at its performance in 2020, your answer would have been a clear no. His power was gone and he only swept through one base. So his price was knocked down because maybe 2019 felt like a fluke.
What did he do in 2021? Exactly what we hoped for in 2020! It just happened a year later. Although his power didn’t hit the heights of his 2019 season, he basically finished between his 2018 and 2019 seasons, which is handy because it’s always the safe prediction when you’re not really sure about repeatability. of an escape. Now fantasy owners are struggling to value it. In the NFBC leagues draft this month, he was selected from No. 47 all the way up to No. 106, with an ADP rating of 72 overall. So how do we project it for 2022? Let’s find out together.
Plate appearances: 616
Marte has struggled with injuries and registered 600 PA just once in his career. With no health issues at the moment, it would be foolish to assume that another injury would cost him a lot of time, but his story has to be taken into account. So while he is expected to reach second in the lineup and gain the second most AP/G, the AP projection is slightly above 600, rather than in the mid-to-high 600 range you expect from a number two hitter whose locked in place and stays healthy all year.
That’s higher than his last three seasons and above his career mark as well. Why? Because he actually just underperformed his xBB% by the highest rate of his career, while simultaneously posting his highest xBB% ever. So his walking skills actually increased last year, as he took the second-highest 3-0 rate of his career. Walk rate increases with age, and it usually also increases as players display more power (you know, those unintentional intentional walks when pitchers are much more cautious).
Marte’s strikeout rate jumped last year to its highest level since 2016. We often see this when a hitter increases his power because he needs to adjust his approach to harness that power. It didn’t happen to Marte in 2019, but it happened in 2021. The thing is, just as he underperformed his xBB%, he also underperformed his xK%. Although his xK% has increased, it has not increased as much as his actual mark. He also makes great contact and has never posted an SwStk% above 8.0%. The fact that he didn’t have to give up contact for power is impressive.
Go%/LD%/FB%: 45.5% / 21.5% / 33%
Not much different from what he’s released over the past two seasons. He became more of a fly ball hitter compared to his first two seasons as his power increased. However, his FB% remains below the league average.
That’s barely above his career mark of .318. His xBABIP has stayed above .300 every season except for the short 2020. He’s now easily topped that xBABIP for three straight seasons, so either he’s on a string of luck or something is missing from the equation. Keep in mind that my extra variables added to Statcast’s xBABIP boosted his xBABIP Pod in 2019 and 2020, and yet Marte still finished well ahead. My xBABIP was nearly the same as Statcast’s in 2021, but again it outperformed.
HR/FB ratio: 16%
This is where it gets fun. With an 11% HR/FB career rate and a tiny 3.8% mark mixed in with his double-digit ratings, I would almost always project a 2022 rating that was slightly lower than the one posted in 2021. Given a 2021 rating of 15 .6%, I could expect 14.5% or maybe 15%. Instead, I zag and throw a little higher HR/FB rate in 2022. Why? Look at this:
HR/FB vs. xHR/FB
The first thing you might notice is man, he underperformed his xHR/FB rate every year! It’s true, and like any equation, it’s likely that there are players doing, or not doing, something that isn’t captured, resulting in yearly overperformance or underperformance. Whether it’s park, batter or a combination of the two, Marte could consistently underperforms its xHR/FB rate. I’m not quite sure yet because the sample size doesn’t seem large enough, but we’re getting closer.
Then let’s kick off 2020. It’s been a short season and he’s been hampered by a wrist injury which probably affected his potency. So now we see that his 2019 and 2021 xHR/FB rates were nearly identical! You just didn’t know that because he underperformed his xHR/FB rate by the highest margin of his career. Since he has now twice posted an xHR/FB rate of 20%+, this is now much more believable than the first time he did in 2019. So my HR/FB rate projection assumes that the gap between his actual rating and the xHR/FB rate will narrow, but also take into account that he may not quite be able to maintain that level of home run power skill.
Races and RBI: 86 and 80
Although he was second at bat most of the season, he was in the field last year, his runs per time on base (a Projecting X 2.0 formula) were well below league average. Sure, his sprint speed took a hit last year and went below average, but that still says a lot more about the Diamondbacks offense last year. I expect better, especially now with the DH.
His RBI rate, on the other hand, was actually high for a two-hole hitter last year. I expect some regression there, but still at a solid pace given his propensity for hitting doubles.
Marte debuted looking like he would be a good stolen base contributor and could pop the occasional homer. He turned into a good home run contributor who could steal the occasional base. I’m anticipating a marginal increase in base steal rate, but given the aforementioned big drop in sprint speed, I don’t see double-digit steals anymore.
Below is my final projected strike line, along with the other systems for comparison:
Projections of Ketel Marte
|THE BAT X||553||615||0.289||23||83||84||5||8.5%||15.0%||0.310|
Yellow = most optimistic
Red = most pessimistic
This is how I hoped this comparison would turn out. As a reminder, I don’t check other projection systems after completing a forecast to see how mine compares, so this is actually the first time I’ve compared mine to the rest. After the long spiel about Marte’s xHR/FB rate, it wouldn’t have mattered if the other systems were as or more bullish than me on his home run total! So this is a good example of being able to use a proprietary equation to differentiate my predictions. Of course, I could be wrong and look like an idiot. But valid projections are those that are different. There’s no advantage when all the projections are the same, because everyone will probably write with certain forecasts in front of them, no matter what system they come from, and that’s no fun.
I’m also a little more optimistic about his walk rate, which has also been fully explained. All of those small differences add up to a higher projected batting average (well, the higher the BABIP, that too) and make him a powerful four-category contributor without losing his owners value in steals.