Date of birth: October 12, 1993
2017 line: 73 games, .260/.345/.395, .740 OPS
Value: 1.1 bWAR
2017 salary: $515,400
SnakePIt rating: 7.53
The season started with Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed manning shortstop. Ahmed got hit in the hand with a pitch. Then Owings got hit in the hand with a pitch. Ahmed got hit again during rehab. Ketel Marte was the answer and he did an admirable job. He started the season as a throw-in component of the Jean Segura trade and playing in AAA. But he did have some big league experience in Seattle and was up for the challenge. He had some clutch hits, even a walk-off. Played great in the Wild Card game and showed he can be counted on in big games.
I would rate his defense as being somewhere between Owings and Ahmed at shortstop. Some have suggested that he is a better fit at 2B, but that is said about anyone who doesn’t play defense up to Ahmed’s caliber. He is a switch-hitter who won’t hurt you on either side of the plate. He runs the bases hard and well. He is a fine shortstop, but most importantly, he is inexpensive and will not become expensive for quite some time.
Ketel Marte is probably not on the trading block himself. But the D-backs have Chris Owings, Daniel Descalso, Brandon Drury, and Nick Ahmed who can all play the middle infield. One of these men could be expendable in trade talks. However, both Owings and Descalso might be most valuable as right and left handed utility players. Owings may be needed more in the outfield if J.D. leaves and Tomas keeps eating too much American food. Drury may have to platoon with Lamb. And Ahmed can hit the lefties pretty decently. Every player seems to have value and might be needed, especially when these guys have ball magnets in their knuckles.
Expect Ketel Marte to be the every day shortstop for the Diamondbacks in 2018. If he can build off last year’s success, he can become the answer. He’s still young, which means he can get significantly better or worse.