D-backs’ Ketel Marte ranked among top 50 players by ESPN

Mar 10, 2020, 9:44 AM | Updated: 9:45 am
Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run off of...
Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run off of Cal Quantrill #40 of the San Diego Padres during the second inning at Chase Field on September 02, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks infielder and center fielder Ketel Marte was considered among the top 50 players in Major League Baseball in ESPN’s MLB Rank that was released Tuesday.

In a list that was voted on by analysts, reporters and contributors, players were ranked one through 100. Marte came in at No. 44 on the list after being unranked the previous year. He was nestled between White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal at No. 45 and Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale at No. 43.

A case could be made that Marte could’ve been ranked far higher, as the 26-year-old’s third full season of big league baseball seems more like upward progress than a one-off fluke. Apart from a short debut year in 2015, Marte’s offensive numbers have steadily climbed each season. In 2019, his .329/.389/.592 slash line with 32 home runs and 92 RBIs were good enough to earn him fourth in the NL MVP voting.

He also learned a new position in 2019, playing nearly 700 innings in center field to go along with his familiar middle infield spots.

Did you know? Few, if anyone, matched the jump made by Marte in 2019. He entered the season with 22 home runs over the first four years of his career, and in 2018 he had career highs with a .768 OPS, 102 OPS+ and 3.3 WAR. In 2019, he mashed 32 home runs, had a .981 OPS, 149 OPS+ and 6.9 WAR. Plus, he started 89 games in center field, adding versatility to his burgeoning value.

Former Diamondbacks Trevor Bauer (No. 88), Paul Goldschmidt (No. 64), Zack Greinke (No. 59), Patrick Corbin (No. 33), J.D. Martinez (No. 31) and Max Scherzer (No. 7) were also ranked. Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout was No. 1, ahead of Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole and Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom.

Marte was the only active Diamondbacks player on the top 100.

If you removed a player’s entire body of work and went just off of the 2019 season, the analytics argue there should be three D-backs in the top 100. Infielder Eduardo Escobar was tied for 59th with a 4.2 WAR. Shortstop Nick Ahmed was 49th with a 4.5 WAR. And even Marte was all the way up at 10th in MLB with a 6.9 WAR.

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D-backs’ Ketel Marte ranked among top 50 players by ESPN