Mariners Analysis: Who Should Hit Leadoff for Seattle in 2016?

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Jul 31, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Ketel Marte (4) in the dugout in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Ketel Marte – SS

The 22-year-old shortstop was brilliant for the Mariners in his debut campaign. Ketel Marte slashed .283/.351/.402 with 2 home runs and 17 RBI across 57 games as a rookie in 2015. Marte struck out just 43 times and nursed 24 free passes through 247 plate appearances.

I believe Marte represents the best combination of speed and on base skills of anyone on the M’s roster. The Dominican Republic product’s speed puts a lot of pressure on the defense. Since his call-up on August 1st, Marte contributed 14 doubles, 3 triples and 8 stolen bases.

The switch-hitter has spent the bulk of his minor-league career hitting out of the top spot in the order, and he excelled in the leadoff role for the Mariners last season. Marte hit .281 with 2 home runs and 17 RBI as the leadoff man. He also scored 25 runs and registered a ..350 on base percentage.

Baseball Reference is projecting a very similar season for Ketel Marte in 2016. They predict he will hit .280 with 6 home runs, 30 RBI and 7 stolen bases across 324 plate appearances. The mathematicians over at FanGraphs are equally as optimistic. They believe he will hit .269 with 5 home runs, 43 RBI and 22 steals through 122 games.

Next: Nori Aoki