Going into year two of the Steve Cohen era in Queens, the Mets bolstered their team with established veterans, headlined by outfielder Starling Marte.
Marte, 33, signed a four-year, $78 million deal with New York prior to the league-wide lockout in December, and has been as advertised for the Mets so far.
"I found out Starling is the kind of guy who you leave in a spot in the lineup and a spot on the field, Mets manager Buck Showalter said after the team's 5-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. "I let him have that peace of mind, and he kind of took off for us."
Marte clubbed a first inning home run off former Mets prospect Justin Dunn on Monday to give New York an early lead they would not relinquish.
The 11-year veteran has thrived in the first inning of games this season. He's hit six of his 12 home runs during the opening frame this year, and owns a .383/.419/.654 triple slash in the first.
"I don't look for home runs, I just look to hit the ball hard," Marte said through interpreter Alan Suriel on Monday. "I try to advance the runner if he's on first base so the next guy up can drive us in, but the way it's turned out, I've been one to hit the home runs, but I'm not necessarily looking for them at that point."
It took Marte a little while to adapt to his new team. During his first month in Queens, he hit just .224/.290/.318.
The outfielder has also battled his hardships this season, as his grandmother died in May, after being him and his siblings caretaker since he was 10-years-old.
Marte has also been banged up at points this year, previously battling a groin injury and a forearm contusion after being plunked with a pitch.
Regardless, he has persevered to give the Mets a strong season. In 93 games, Marte has 12 home runs, 64 RBIs, a .294/.345/.462 triple slash, .351 wOBA, 133 wRC+, and has been worth 2.4 fWAR.
Showalter raved about Marte, as well as Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor atop the Mets batting order, saying they each bring something to the table.
"He and Nimm and Linny, they’re very consistent in who they try to be and the pitchers don’t always cooperate," Showalter said. "Everybody’s not the same, every guy you have to understand and make the effort to."