Marte’s PED circus is over. The suspension is done, apologetic press conferences have been had, and now we’re deep into spring training where the rodeo of last season is a distant memory. There is still one lingering question however: will Marte be the player he was before the suspension? I decided to look back on another speedster’s year after a PED suspension to find out.
That speedster is Dee Gordon.
To be honest, there probably isn’t a better comparison to Marte’s situation than Dee Gordon. Both are GGs at their respective positions (with Dee Gordon now moving to center field for the Mariners the comparison is even more apt), have high averages, and are top base stealers in the league. Not only are they similar types of players, but both have similar batted ball numbers and even WAR wise they are similar. Both have been around 5 WAR players in the last few years with Marte being more steadily at that level.
Let’s look at Dee’s stats in the year before and after his suspension.
Overall, Gordon didn’t drop off that far from his great 2015 season. He even beat his stolen base number by two. It looks like the ped suspension was merely a blip in Dee Gordon’s career. Who’s to say it won’t be for Marte? Marte has had a better stretch of years leading up to his 2016 season than Gordon did. Who’s to say that wasn’t for real? And even if the steroids gave him a boost that muscle mass isn’t just going to go away.
In 2016 (and arguably 2015) Marte played at an allstar level and was one of the best defensive outfielders in the league. He has given me no reason to believe he won’t play at that level again if he gets a full season. The PED suspension is concerning, but with the way Marte is playing in spring training so far (we can just forget about that one fly he lost in the sun) I don’t think it’s going to affect him at all like it hasn’t affected Dee Gordon.
In the end, this is all speculation and the only way we’ll actually know the truth is when he steps into the box this regular season. All I can say for certain is thank god baseball is back. It’s going to be a hell of a year.
(Image courtesy of Getty Images)