Ketel Marte

From BR Bullpen

Ketel Ricardo Marte Valdez

  • Bats Both, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 175 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Ketel Marte was the starting second baseman and lead-off hitter for the World Team in the 2015 Futures Game. Three weeks later, he made his major league debut with the Seattle Mariners on July 31, 2015 starting at second base in place of Robinson Cano, who was sidelined with an abdominal strain, in a 6-1 win over the Minnesota Twins. He went 0 for 4 but scored a run after drawing a walk in that game. He had been called up earlier that day as part of a number of moves made by the Mariners after trading away a number of veterans at the trading deadline. He played 57 games for Seattle that season, hitting .283 with 2 homers and 17 RBIs; he also scored 25 runs and stole 8 bases while playing mainly shortstop.

Marte was signed by Seattle as an amateur free agent in August of 2010 when he was still 16. He began his pro career in 2011 with the DSL Mariners and m,oved to the United States in 2012 with the Everett AquaSox of he Northwest League, where he hit .247 in 65 games. In 2013, he played 117 games between the Clinton LumberKings and High Desert Mavericks, hitting .295/.322/.364, a very good line for a 19-year-old infielder in full-season ball. In 2014, he played 109 games for the Jackson Generals of the Southern League and 19 more with the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League. he was a mid-season and postseason All-Star in the Southern League that year. He continued to improve with the bat, hitting a combined .304/.335/.411 with 32 doubles, 79 runs scored and 55 RBIs. In 2015, he was hitting .314 in 65 games for Tacoma when he got the call to Seattle. In addition to playing in the Futures Game, he was a mid-season All-Star in the PCL.

In 2016, Marte was given the starting shortstop job with the Mariners and played 119 games, hitting .259 with 21 doubles. His OPS+ was only 68 (it had been 128 in a half season the year before), mainly because he failed to draw and any walks - he had 18 in 437 at-bats - and showed no power beyond his doubles. Still, at 22, there was plenty of room for growth, and that was what the Arizona Diamondbacks were looking for when they acquired him, along with P Taijuan Walker, in a five-player trade on November 23rd. Headed to Seattle were 2B Jean Segura, coming off the best season of his career, and two players who had made their debut during the year, OF Mitch Haniger and P Zac Curtis.

Marte's first season with the Diamondbacks in 2017 was cut in half by an injury, limiting him to 73 games. He did better when he was able to play, hitting .260 with a .345 OBP and raising his OPS+ to 88. He was great in the Wild Card Game, in which the D-Backs defeated the Colorado Rockies, 11-8, on October 4th, as he went 3 for 5 with a pair of triples, scoring and driving in a run. In the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he went 4 for 12 with a homer and 3 runs scored as one of the few Arizona players to do well with the bat in the three-game sweep. He continued to progress in 2018 as he played 153 games after moving from shortstop to second base. He hit .260 again, but with 26 doubles, a National League-leading 12 triples and 14 homers, scoring 68 runs and driving in 59. His OPS+ improved to 101. In 2019, splitting time between second base and center field, he got off to a great start. On June 2nd, he hit his 14th homer of the year, matching his career high for a full season; the blast off Steven Matz of the New York Mets traveled 482 feet, matching Nomar Mazara of the Texas Rangers for the longest homer hit in the majors thus far that season. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time that year and finished at .329 in 144 games, with 97 runs, 32 homers and 92 RBIs. His OPS+ was an outstanding 149 and he was fourth in the MVP vote.

He couldn't sustain his new-found level of excellence during the 2020 season, which was shortened to 60 games by the COVID-19 pandemic. He appeared in 45 games for the D-Backs, but never really got going, finishing at .287 with 2 homers and 17 RBIs. His OPS+ fell all the way to 97. It turned out that this was just a blip, as he bounced back very nicely in 2021, albeit in only 90 games as he battled hamstring injuries. He batted .318 with 14 homers and 50 RBIs, scored 52 runs, and brought his OPS+ back up to 143. On March 27, 2022, the Diamondbacks signed him to a five-year contract extension worth $76 million, a clear indication that he would be one of the team's building blocks going forward. After playing mostly second base in 2019 and 2020, he had moved to centerfield in 2021. However, the team felt that playing centerfield was the cause of the hamstring issues and had decided to move him back to second in 2022. He had another down season, hitting .240 in 13y games, but by hitting 42 doubles and 12 homers with 55 walks, he had a positive OPS of 105. But he really broke through in 2023, as one of the veteran leaders on a young Diamondbacks team that returned to the postseason. He hit .276 with an OBP of .358, hit 26 doubles, 9 triples and 25 homers, scored 94 runs and drove in 82 to finish with an OPS+ of 128. He continued his scorching run in the postseason, as in Game 6 of the NLCS against the Philadelphia Phillies, he recorded a hit in his 15th straight postseason game from the start of his career, tying a record set by Marquis Grissom in the 1990s. The overall postseason record of 17 games was also within reach at that point; he was not just getting a hit here and there: in six of his last eight games, he had gotten multiple hits. He moved past Grissom with another hit in Game 7 on October 24th, and was named the winner of the NLCS MVP Award after picking up 12 hits, with 4 doubles and a triple, during the seven games. With an RBI double in the 5th inning of Game 1 of the World Series, against Nathan Eovaldi of the Texas Rangers on October 27th, he tied the record for longest postseason hitting streak shared by Hank Bauer (who achieved it entirely in World Series games from 1956 to 1958), Derek Jeter (1998-99) Manny Ramirez (2003-04). He took sole possession of the record with another hit in Game 2 the next day and increased the record to 20 games with hits in his next two games as well, although his hit in Game 3 went in and out of 2B Marcus Semien's glove and could well have been ruled an error in different circumstances.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL All-Star (2019)
  • 2023 NLCS MVP
  • NL Triples Leader (2018)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2019 & 2023)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2019)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Paul Casella: "Marte sets hit-streak record, named NLCS MVP",, October 25, 2023. [1]
  • Paul Casella: "Marte ties postseason hit streak record with clutch RBI double",, October 28, 2023. [2]
  • Paul Casella: "Marte alone in MLB history with 18-game postseason hit streak",, October 29, 2023. [3]
  • Anthony DiComo: "Marte ties Grissom for longest hit streak to open postseason career",, October 24, 2023. [4]
  • Steve Gilbert: "Locking in a cornerstone: D-backs to build around Marte",, March 29, 2022. [5]

Related Sites[edit]