How Jesus Montero Caught Starling Marte Stealing
I don’t know much about the Pirates, because I’ve never had a reason to, but I know that Starling Marte is an exciting young player of theirs and he bats leadoff so I can only assume he’s a talented runner. I’m only slightly exaggerating my Pirates-related ignorance, but in just 78 major-league games coming into today, Marte had eight triples and 22 steals to his name. He’s young and he moves like you’d expect a guy named Starling Marte to move, so he’s a constant threat when he has a chance to do damage with his legs.
Also coming into today, Jesus Montero had thrown out zero of 15 base-stealers. There’s been talk that some of that has been due to pitchers not holding runners on, and that’s undoubtedly been a factor, but regardless, Montero had thrown out as many baserunners as you or me or the Queen or all of us combined, and, no, wait, hold on, let me make that better, Montero had thrown out as many baserunners as my living-room sofa that just broke last week although I think I fixed it although I don’t trust it yet. Well that didn’t make things better. Montero had thrown out as many baserunners as a cup of yogurt. Any cup of yogurt. If you’re going to the grocery store later, stop by the yogurt, and consider the containers, and consider Jesus Montero as a defensive catcher. 15. Zero.
And so, naturally, today Jesus Montero threw out Starling Marte attempting to steal second in the bottom of the eighth. It was a big play, as the Pirates were behind by one at the time, with Travis Snider up to bat. Marte thought he’d go and get himself into scoring position. Montero was like, “no don’t,” and then shortly thereafter the Mariners won. How did Montero do it, after so many weeks of not doing it? We go to the video for a screenshot breakdown.
(1) Starling Marte stopped running toward second base
This was a big part of the play. Marte stumbled when he got his jump, and when Montero cocked to throw down, Marte stopped in his tracks. So the first step toward Montero keeping Marte from second was Marte deciding to not run to second anymore.
(2) Starling Marte actively ran away from second base
Marte didn’t just stop in his tracks. I mean, he did do that, but then he immediately began to retreat. This was another big part of the play. The second step toward Montero keeping Marte from second was Marte choosing to run away from second instead of right at it. Montero threw to first base, and Marte became involved in a short-lived pickle. He was tagged, and that’s how Jesus Montero threw out Starling Marte attempting to steal second base.
So Montero is now 1-for-16. Based on the evidence, here is how 2013 Jesus Montero prevents runners from stealing second:
- runner stops on the way to second
- runner goes in opposite direction
Congratulations to Jesus Montero for showing the rest of the league how it’s done. And to think there are people who don’t think Montero is a catcher long-term. There are lots of long-term catchers out there still looking for their first success in gunning down Starling Marte on the bases.