Mariners News: Ketel Marte Moving to CF


Ketel Marte is turning heads this season with the Seattle Mariners’ triple-A affiliate in Tacoma. Known throughout his minor league career as a middle infielder, the M’s are attempting to convert Marte into a center fielder. The 21-year-old has started in center field in each of the last 3 games, and he is expected to stay there for the foreseeable future.

Marte is currently ranked as the Mariners 3rd best prospect according to, and he has lived up to the hype in 2015. He is currently hitting .324 with 3 home runs, 29 RBI’s and 17 stolen bases across 64 games with the Rainiers this season. Marte has posted a .367 on base percentage, and has slugged .411 out of the leadoff spot in Tacoma.

The change in position has not hurt Marte’s performance at the plate. Through his first 3 games in center field, Marte is hitting .385 with 1 home run, 3 RBI’s and 1 stolen base. He is said to possess a rare instinct for stealing bases, and that could certainly add a new dimension to the M’s stagnant offense.

Marte represented the Mariners at this summer’s Futures Game, and got the start at second base for the World side. The switch hitter was also voted the starter at shortstop for the Pacific Coast League at the Triple-A All-Star Game.

Despite all of his accolades, there is not a clear path to the big leagues at shortstop. The Mariners already have a pair of intriguing young shortstops in Brad Miller and Chris Taylor. If there is a weak spot in Marte’s game it would have to be defense. Miller and Taylor are both superior fielders to Marte. Crazy Legs has had a decent season at the plate, hitting .234 with 8 home runs, 24 RBI’s and 10 stolen bases across 91 games. Taylor is having a rough season at the plate, but his future is likely as a utility infielder.

Many project Marte’s best defensive position at the big league level will be second base, but obviously he is blocked by Robinson Cano. 2015 has not gone according to plan for Cano, but he is entrenched at second base until 2023. If Marte is going to make an impact with the M’s in the near future, it will likely have to be in center field.

Moving Marte to the outfield may tip the Mariners hand in regards to impending free agent center fielder Austin Jackson. The M’s traded for AJ at last year’s trade deadline, and while he has played a quality center field, Jackson has left plenty to be desired at the plate. The 28-year-old is hitting just .242 with 4 home runs, 35 RBI’s and 22 stolen bases through 128 games in a Mariners’ uniform.

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Jackson is set to hit the open market this winter, and it is unlikely he will receive a multi-year offer from the Mariners. If Marte is successful in his transition, look for Seattle to let Jackson walk this offseason.

Ketel Marte has the potential to be the best leadoff man the Mariners have had since Ichiro Suzuki was dealt away during the 2012 season. I expect Marte will spend the remainder of the season in Tacoma before getting a a September call-up to Seattle. I think he will be given every chance to to win the starting center field job next spring in Peoria.

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