Seattle Mariners Season Preview: Ketel Marte

Sep 7, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte (4) throws to first for an out in the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 7, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte (4) throws to first for an out in the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports /

Will there be a Marte Partay in Seattle this season?

There were not a lot of positive things that could be picked out of the Seattle Mariners 2015 season. Out of the popular positive narratives you have a one Nelson Cruz and his offensive heroics, or the return of Franklin Gutierrez to better health and even sexier smiles. However one of the brightest spots in the Mariners otherwise bleak 2015 was shortstop Ketel Marte.

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Ketel Marte, double play partner of Robinson Cano, purveyor of the Partay, is someone whose potential excites the hell out of me.  Before I go on, I’ll start off by saying Marte’s current narrative may or may not fall along the lines of one big cliche. I’ll try my best to put my orginal spin on the little we have to work with. Here we go: His rookie season did not go without some discernible growing pains, but his overall performance last year definitely has me optimistic to see how he fairs in a whole season. Marte does fit into the young, talented, hopeful but not quite proven mold at this point, BUT that doesn’t mean we cannot be excited about the unknown he brings to the 2016 Mariners.

The Good

Marte’s numbers in Triple-A were extremely favorable. The numbers he put up in two months with Seattle after getting called up also point to a couple of very positive arguments. In 247 plate appearances, he slashed .283/.351/.402 with a 112 wRC+. Fangraphs does a great piece here, that embodies all that is the upside of Ketel Marte. What I find particularly inspiring about Marte is the feeling of confidence I have in his abilities. While his freshman campaign may have some pretty decent similarities to those before him (read below), he seems to be willing and able to make adjustments that will sustain a good year. I mean just look at him take this ball right from Brad Miller , it’s almost prophetic to his future. He’s almost saying “look what I can do better than you.” Marte hits for contact and gets on base. He’s already made a couple of sterling defensive plays that are sure to multiply this year.  I’m excited and you should be too.

The Bad 

Remember those sample sizes I talked about right up there? Those also have a built in counter argument that will say that all the good already shown, will eventually not be so good. It’s happened before. It will happen again. Yes, Marte is young and will make mistakes. He might not adjust to a full season’s demands, it could happen.

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The hardest thing about projecting a player with so little proven major league experience, is that the argument could truly go both ways. Marte doesn’t walk a lot, he’s still really young and he might not be as dependable as I (and many others) need him to be. As of right now, there is still is a very possible fear of the unknown being as scary as it seems.

The Future 

Marte is a large part of the Mariners future success. I’ve recently seen that black hole at shortstop swallow up the likes of Nick Franklin and Tampa Bay’s future star outfielder, Brad Miller. There has been a serious lack of consistency at the position since the early days of Yuniesky Betancourt and I guess Brendan Ryan (talking purely defense here). The past few seasons we’ve gone into Spring Training with multiple guys competing for the position, and while competition is great, there is something to be said of having enough confidence in one guy to be able to fill the requirements. While the Mariners did trade for Luis Sardinas in the offseason and Chris Taylor is still hanging around, all signs point to the opening day shortstop being Ketel Marte.

Next: Seattle Mariners Season Preview: Chris Iannetta

The Mariners do have a history of sending these inexperienced, full of all kinds of raw talent players into the ring to fend for themselves. I get it. It is very hard to put your trust into a plan that we have seen crash and burn (Love you Mike Z). However to put trust into Marte for the future is not the craziest of plans. The best part is, as our friends at FanGraphs mentioned, no one seems to expect much out of him. He has a huge upside, and why shouldn’t this be the season to make every one notice? Have yourselves a Marte Partay, folks. This year is going to be a fun one. Go Mariners.