Sleeper Alert: Why Ketel Marte Will Emerge As a “Must Target” On Draft Day

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According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com (click here for the article):

After losing center fielder A.J. Pollock to free agency and not being able to find a replacement on either the free-agent or trade markets, the D-backs decided to move Marte to center and signed Wilmer Flores to handle a lot of the work at second base.

That’s not to say that Marte will only see action in center.

Instead, the team plans to move him around a bit, playing him at times at second and even shortstop with Jarrod Dyson and perhaps Socrates Brito getting some starts in center.

Obviously this would make it seem like Marte is set for every day at bats, especially with the other options likely needing to sit:

  • Wilmer Flores (RHH) – Historically Flores has crushed southpaws, with a career .471 SLG, but he won’t sit against all right-handed hitters
  • Jarrod Dyson (LHH) – For his career he’s hit .220 against left-handed pitchers with a .302 OBP

While Brito is a bit of a wild card, this seems to work out well for Marte.  He should play CF against all left-handed pitchers (and some righties) and move to 2B against some right-handed pitchers.  While Marte’s overall numbers last season don’t scream significant appeal (.260 with 14 HR and 6 SB), he performed significantly better in the second half (.296 with 5 HR).

The improved average makes sense, as Marte showed an overall strong approach:

  • SwStr% – 6.4%
  • O-Swing% – 28.1%
  • Hard% – 36.0%

It should yield better than a .282 BABIP, which he posted in the second half with a .333.  More of a groundball approach (51.2%) could limit his power upside, though adding 26 doubles and 12 triples shows that there’s a little bit more potential there as well (think in the 18-22 range).  Throw in enough speed to reach double digits and what’s not to like?

There’s positional flexibility and the upside of performing across the board, all at an NFBC average ADP of 224.57.  In other words, he’s a no-brainer target.

Sources – Fangraphs, NFBC

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