Andy Marte and the Minor League Splits Database

Welcome to the new age of minor league statistical analysis.

Friend of BTB Jeff Sackmann's gift to the baseball community was his new website devoted to Minor League split statistics, aptly named MinorLeagueSplits.com.

I am positively giddy about this, and I felt like sharing some information that I learned in a half hour of exploration (with the help of Excel).

We've heard a good bit about Andy Marte's resurgence in AAA, coming off a two-month long case of "bigleagueitis," as I've heard it called. He's blocked by Aaron Boone, and the service time argument can only go so far; Marte would be well-served by a half year to learn big league pitching (a la David Wright).

But what has propelled this hot streak? I decided to go to MinorLeagueSplits.com to try to learn something.

PA BA OBP SLG BABIP GB% LD% FB% K/PA HR/F
April/May 206 .251 .320 .350 .338 28.9% 24.4% 35.6% 24.8% 4.2%
June/July 143 .316 .364 .624 .310 33.3% 20.7% 32.4% 15.4% 30.6%

There's a lot in that table, as always, but there are a few things worth noting.
  1. Marte's BABIP was actually higher during his slump than it is now, during his hot streak.
  2. Accordingly, Marte is hitting fewer line drives.
  3. Marte is striking out considerably less often during this hot streak.
  4. Charitably, Marte has decided to provide souvenirs on almost one third of the pitches that he's put in the air.
The BABIP thing is pretty simple to explain, I think: Marte's homers don't count in his BABIP. For pitchers, this makes sense, but I'm not quite certain of its validity with hitters (if you're trying to measure the caliber of the performance). Assuming that he's hitting the ball hard when he hits it out of the yard, he has been more successful on that front during this streak. His BAC (Batting Average with Contact) is higher during this streak; he's hit .378 when he makes contact over the last month and a half, and .348 prior to that.

It's interesting to see that his LD% has dropped, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. He's hitting fewer flyballs, simultaneously, but it almost seems like he's selectively picking which balls are best to loft, considering how successful he has been at driving the ball out of the yard recently. His HR/F is right around 30%, and that's comparable to guys like Ryan Howard and Adam Dunn in the majors.

I would say, though, that the best thing from Marte's perspective is the fact that he has cut down on his strikeouts dramatically over this time period. Marte has never been particularly good at avoiding Ks, but he had made progress on that front and his ratios were never too worrisome. I'm compelled to think that he's playing over his head at this point (obviously), especially with the strikeouts (he's probably somewhere in the middle of the two percentages, as a norm), but Marte's a legitimate hitter who has finally straightened himself out, it seems. Most of the problems in his first two months seem to stem from his inability to put the ball in the stands, but he appears to be making up for lost time. There's probably no reason for him to be in the minors at this point.

This is all rudimentary analysis, but it's nice to be able to do that so conveniently these days.

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