Reno, Nevada —— After an injury to infielder Nick Ahmed, the Arizona Diamondbacks have reportedly recalled infielder Ketel Marte from the Triple-A Reno Aces. Marte was clearly doing very well in Reno this summer; through 70 games (311 at-bats) in the Pacific Coast League, the shortstop was slashing .338/.391/.514/.905 with 23 doubles, six home runs, and 25 walks against only 34 strikeouts. At the time of this call-up, Marte was sixth in the PCL in hitting, second in doubles, and first in hits and total bases.
More than his plainly evident stat line, though, the Ketel Marte I watched play last week in Reno during a series against the Las Vegas 51s was a player seeing the ball very well thanks to a mature, measured approach in every at-bat. Marte has always had a knack for getting on base, hitting for average, and keeping strikeout totals relatively low, but all are on an upswing this season because he’s been finding the perfect balance between doing damage in hitters’ counts and proving content to take opposite-field base hits depending on how he’s being pitched.
Look at all these swings from last week during that home series against Las Vegas:
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Ketel Marte is tracking the ball extremely well right now and often finding the barrel while being content to go the other way with authority when the situation presents itself. He’s gotten bulkier in the shoulders since I saw him last (spring training 2016), but he’s retained his speed and athleticism, so there’s likely a good amount of gap-to-gap power there still to come out. I like him better from the left side of the plate than the right, but his switch-hitting ability and those contact skills from both sides make him a matchup threat.
He’s been in the big leagues before, with significant time in both 2015 and 2016, but this will be the Arizona Diamondbacks’ first look at Marte after he came over in the November trade with the Seattle Mariners involving Taijuan Walker. At least in so far as he’s the hot hand in Triple-A and the most sensible next-man-up for the big league club, he’ll get a good, immediate opportunity to prove himself. Beyond that, at just 23 years old, he has a great chance to assert himself as a valuable everyday big leaguer moving forward.
It’s an obvious move to bring up a hot-hitting young player after a big league injury at the position he plays, but beyond that I really like the good timing here for both Ketel Marte and the Arizona Diamondbacks. His approach is mature beyond what he was seeing in the PCL, and his barrel skills and natural strength ought to give him a fighting chance up in The Show. After parts of two seasons up in the big leagues, perhaps here the third time will prove the charm.
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