With the trading deadline passed, the Seattle Mariners made another move to stay in the headlines last night by promoting infield prospect Ketel Marte to the major league roster. He will play second base in the absence of Robinson Cano. Here's the scoop on the newest Mariner.
Ketel Marte, SS-2B-OF: The Mariners signed Ketel Marte as a free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2010. He ws not a huge bonus guy: he got a respectable $100,000 but that bonus really wasn't much considering that the Mariners spent $6,000,000 on international free agents that year. Marte emerged as a player of promise buy hitting .304/.330/.370 in the difficult Midwest League in 2013. He followed up with a .302/.329/.404 mark with 23 steals for Double-A Jackson in 2014. His 2015 campaign for Tacoma in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League is likewise successful: .321/.366/.417 with 20 steals in 23 attempts.
Marte is 21 years old, listed at 6-1. He weighed just 150 pounds when he signed but has filled out to about 175 or 180 now. A switch-hitter, he has an easily-maintained simple contact swing that can spray the ball to all fields. He is not a home run hitter and never will be, but there's enough in the bat for him to hit sufficient numbers of doubles and triples. He doesn't walk much but he doesn't strike out much, either. His speed is above-average and his running instincts are good enough for him to be a steal threat.
Marte has spent most of his career at shortstop with mixed results. He looks smooth with the footwork and has an adequate arm but has a habit of messing up routine plays, a common issue for young infielders. PCL sources indicate that he's settled down some this year, reducing his error rate. He has performed very well during limited trials at second base and has even played a few games in center field this year to enhance his versatility.
Given his age, Marte could develop in any number of directions, most of them good ones.