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ESPN: Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte could be the next breakout player

Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte heads to home plate on a RBI single by J.D. Martinez during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Orlando Ramirez)

With the first spring training workouts only a week away, baseball fans are wondering where the next up-and-coming players will come from. Luckily for Diamondback fans, they may not have to look any further than Arizona.

In an ESPN article, Jeff Sullivan writes that Diamondbacks shortstop Ketel Marte is one of 10 players that could possibly break out next season.

Marte and Taijuan Walker were traded to the Diamondbacks in a deal with the Seattle Mariners back in 2016. According to Sullivan, Marte took a large step forward last season, his first with Arizona.

First, Marte is a shortstop who runs like the devil. Second, though he’s but 24 years old, he just tripled his big league walk rate. By the end of 2017, Marte was looking like a reasonably disciplined contact hitter, one who had also begun to learn how to sting the ball with authority

Marte, who started the year behind Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings in the Diamondbacks’ depth chart, spent the beginning of the season with the Reno Aces, Arizona’s Triple-A affiliate. Marte played 70 games in the minors while batting .338, hitting six homeruns, seven triples and totaling 41 RBIs.

Then, in late June, Marte was recalled to the Diamondbacks when Ahmed fractured his hand. Only a month later, Owings fractured his middle finger, leaving the starting job to Marte.

In the big leagues, Marte got walked 29 times and hit five homeruns in only 73 games last year.

Not only has Marte improved as a hitter during his time in Arizona, but he has also taken a large leap forward in his defense.

In 2016 with the Mariners, Marte led the MLB with 21 errors committed as a shortstop. Last season, the 24-year-old Dominican player only had nine errors.

With the Diamondbacks’ first spring training game against the Colorado Rockies only a couple of weeks away, Marte will be a player that fans will keep an eye on throughout the season.

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