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The Par-tay is over: What to do with Jefry Marte

Marte is out of options, literally and perhaps figuratively, too.

Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The legend of Jefry Marte began when the Angels traded Kody Eaves for him in January of 2016. The Angels would end up being Marte’s 4th team since 2012 (Mets, A’s, and Tigers).

FYI: Kody Eaves has yet to make a big league roster but he’s still with the Tigers system hitting .217 in AA this year.

In Marte’s first game as an Angel he hit a pair of doubles going 2 for 4 with an RBI. A few games later the partay really started with Marte’s 4 for 4 games against the Tigers - a game the Angels won by 2 runs and Marte had 2 RBIs.

Marte went on to have a 1.3 fWAR season - 6th on the team, despite playing just 88 games. His .252/.310/.481 slash line was respectable and his 113 wRC+ was 4th among players with more than 50 games. He performed well enough to get every day consideration for the 2017 season but it turns out the party was getting turned down by the time 2017 rolled around. Even I was promoting him playing more in 2017 after this 2016 campaign, but now 2 years later, the decline continues.

Marte’s descent the past few years has been noticeable. He went from that 1.3 fWAR in 2016 to -0.5 in 2017 to -0.4 currently in 2018. His 2018 average at .206 is sadly an improvement over his .173 in 2017 but still leaves much to be desired. His wRC+ over the past 3 years has dropped from 113 to 59 to 17. Clearly things are moving in the wrong direction.

Jefry Marte Stats

2016 284 0.252 0.310 15 6.3 20.8 113 1.3
2017 145 0.173 0.269 4 9.0 23.4 59 -0.5
2018 138 0.206 0.246 4 4.3 21.0 63 -0.4

This is not exactly a good trend to see. Marte’s walk rate is down, average is down from 2016 (though up a bit from 2017), wRC+ is pretty terrible, and the list goes on. Marte has just a .246 OBP this season.

Let’s take a look at some other numbers of note. First, Marte’s hard hit ball rate has gone down nearly 12% from 2016. His ground ball batting average has also gone down and is now a measly .113. Marte is hitting into double plays at a higher pace as well. If you look at the shift numbers, you will see the increase in shift as opposing teams have learned Marte over the past few years. You could conclude from this that less hard hit balls, more on the ground, and an increased shift have been tough on Marte.

Groundballs and the Shift

Year Hard% GB% GB AVG Shift% Shift AVG GDP
Year Hard% GB% GB AVG Shift% Shift AVG GDP
2016 36.1 39.1 0.269 9% 0.292 8
2017 27.7 46.8 0.182 12% 0.158 2
2018 24.5 50.0 0.113 23% 0.156 5

The other problem with Marte is that he’s not a plus defender so he doesn’t even really work as a late inning defensive replacement. Rosters expand in September so Marte may stick around until the end of the year, but the Angels DFA’d Valbuena and Marte’s numbers aren’t all that different. If the Angels think Thaiss could benefit from an earlier call-up, I wouldn’t mind a DFA for Marte now. After all he’s not likely part of the Angels future and should land on another team before the 2019 season.

It’s a lost season so why not throw Thaiss, Fernandez, Fletcher, and Ward out there for the rest of these season to see what they can do?