On Thursday, the starting lineups for the American League and National League teams were named for the Midsummer Classic that will take place on Tuesday, July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland. While a lot of the names on the respective rosters were familiar to being named All-Stars, there were a few who have never been given the honor to represent their organization in this prestigious event.
Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte was selected for his first All-Star Game, and to boot, is in the starting lineup for the NL team. Although he’s also played a lot of center field this year, he was picked to start at second base in the All-Star game. Marte had been a decent big-leaguer up to this point, but this season, the 25-year-old has been on another level. He’s currently hitting .320, a career best, while going deep 20 times in just 79 games, surpassing his total of just 14 homers last season through 153 games. He’s also driven in 51 RBIs, which is just eight shy of his total from the 2018 campaign as well.
Marte is one of just four players throughout the majors to collect over 100 hits this season. He continues to stay hot at the plate, recording eight straight multi-hit games, a streak that just ended on Wednesday. He surpassed D-Backs legend Luis Gonzalez for the franchise record for the most multi-hit games in a row. Four of those eight games Marte recorded three or more hits, which is unbelievable in itself, including a four-hit game against Colorado on June 20th where he smoked two doubles.
A deeper look into his hot start
Marte got off to a slow start to begin the ’19 campaign, hitting just .263 in April. Since then, he’s slowly improved at the plate. In May, he hit .309, then in June, he’s gone absolutely off, hitting .419 with seven homers in this month alone. He leads the majors in June with the best average, sitting just above Charlie Blackmon who is hitting .400 this month. The D-backs star is also eighth in the bigs leagues in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), at 3.8.
Marte’s barrel percentage is up to 11.2 from just five percent last year. This means he’s hitting balls at 98 mph or more 11.2 percent of the time, a perfect example of how often he’s squaring up the baseball this year. His average exit velocity is also up from 88.5 to 90.5 this season, along with his average launch angle, which has skyrocketed. it’s at 11.9%, from just 5.7 in 2018. This stands to reason because Marte is hitting a lot more home runs this year.
Since he is a switch-hitter, that makes him even more of a threat since he can swing it from both sides of the plate. He’s producing equally from the left and right side too, which makes his fantastic year even more impressive. Marte has hit 11 homers from the left side, and nine from the right. He’s also hitting around .320 from both sides. Another reason Marte is enjoying so much success is that he’s lowered his groundball rate and upped his flyball and line drive rates. The GB rate is down 10 points, while the flyball and line drive rates have increased by eight and five points, respectively.
As the All-Star game slowly approaches, Ketel Marte continues to put up video game numbers. In his last seven games, Marte is hitting .640 (16 for 25). Absolutely unheard of at the major league level. Then in his last 15 contests, he’s hitting .552 with five homers. He continues to terrorize opposing arms at an inhuman rate.
It will be fun to see Marte face some of the best pitchers in the game on July 9th in Cleveland. With the Paul Goldschmidt era now in the past for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ketel Marte is shaping into a franchise piece for this organization.