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The Athletic: D-backs’ Marte ranked as 6th-most versatile defensive player

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Ketel Marte makes a running catch on a ball hit by Milwaukee Brewers' Lorenzo Cain during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 21, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Diamondbacks have benefited from second baseman Ketel Marte’s stellar offensive season.

He is batting .317 with an OPS of .951 and leads the National League in hits with 139 coming into Wednesday.

In his breakout season, one big change for Marte has been where he is playing defensively.

After A.J. Pollock left in free agency last offseason, the D-backs had a hole to fill in center field.

Marte is traditionally an infielder, but the D-backs decided to move him to center to make room in a crowded infield.

While Marte has split time as both a second baseman and center fielder this season, The Athletic‘s Mark Simon named him as baseball’s sixth-most versatile defensive player.

The list strictly looked at the player’s defensive ability, not their offensive production.

Simon cites Marte’s amount of runs saved as a big factor for making the list.

There were questions before the season started as to whether Marte could handle center field. The numbers show positive results. He’s saved 11 runs.

Marte’s 11 runs saved in center field puts him only four behind Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain’s league-leading 15.

Most of Marte’s time has been spent in center field and his defense at second base has taken a hit as a result, Simon adds.

Marte’s numbers at second base have come down slightly (-1 runs saved), but we’ll trust the seven runs he saved there in 2018 as an indication that he can play both positions quite well.

Players ranked above Marte on the list included division-rival Los Angeles Dodgers infielders Max Muncy (1) and Kike Hernandez (4), Miami Marlins third baseman Brian Anderson (2), New York Mets outfielder Jeff McNeil (3) and Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher (5).

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