Ketel Marte, Level 201 Scan


Q.  So Dr. D won't back off his opinion that Ketel Marte is good for 7 WAR per season?

A.  Dr. D has said that --- > as non-prospects go, Ketel Marte turned out to be a whale of a tough 21-year-old out.  That's all he said.  Drive home safely.

Slap me silly.  Ketel Marte is a point of interest, in a non-interesting August.  Nobody is selling Marte as an All-Star.  SSI has not wheeled out the Best Bet sticker.  What do I have to do, write it in blood?!  ... wait ...


Q.  Is it reasonable to cap Marte's ceiling at "backup"?

A.  No, it is reasonable to install his floor there.

At age 21, Erick Aybar could not begin to cope with major league pitching.  Most shortstops of Aybar's type couldn't OPS+ 80 and up until they were at least 24. What say we hold off on putting Marte's very upper scenario at "fringe."  His worst case is fringe now, and he's 21.


Q.  After 100 plate appearances, what does SSI see in Marte's game, though?

A.  He unquestionably has a rare ability to cover the ball, timing-wise.  He can cover a 95-MPH fastball, and he can stay back to cover a 72-MPH change curve, and everything in between.  Look it up on Fangraphs > Pitch Type and you'll see he hits everything.

Look, don't go screaming into the night again :- ) but that's what the big stars do, the Trouts and Harpers.  At age 20, 21, they can handle the strike zone back-to-front.  They don't need to guess right.  They don't actually think that much at all.  Junior didn't.  Ketel Marte just doesn't think that much up there.

So, it's not every day you see a 21-year-old slam into Safeco Field and just whack everything he sees.  D.J. Petersen ain't doing it.  So enjoy Marte's assault on Everest.  It's goin' good at the moment.


Also, we're pleasantly surprised to see him drop his shoulder, load up, and sting the ball into the gaps when he sees his pitch early.  He's not the Endy-est swinger we've ever seen, not by a long shot.


Q.  The Mariners have had a lot of middle infielders who started hot - Ackley, Miller, Taylor, Franklin.

A.  If you have a prospect who, at age 21, is where Dustin Ackley was at age 21, I recommend you hold on to him.  Just because Ackley was one of the "aw, shucks" results, doesn't mean you do not want the #2 pick in the draft.

Ackley, Miller, Taylor, Franklin, that's one whale of a talented group of prospects.  And the latter three have certainly not yet failed.  It's a little odd how we, in Seattle, think that Justin Smoak-level prospects are something to avoid.  :- )  Because we had Justin Smoak.

There's a story about a Hold 'Em superstar who had an amateur friend walk up to him crying.  "Hey, man, the last three times in a row I had aces wired, I pushed them hard and then the flop shafted me.  I'm going broke.  What do I do with those blasted aces?!"

The superstar looked at him like he was something brown an' unpleasant and said, "Play them the same way."  And walked off.  ... teasing.  But look, kiddies, if we can trade Roenis Elias for the next Dustin Ackley-level hitting prospect, I vote we do it.

What were we sayin'? ... oh, yeah.  It's not a bad thing to rip up the American League in your first 100 AB's.  Now is it.


Q.  Is it reasonable to think that Marte might start drawing walks, after not having done so in the minors?

A.  I don't expect Marte to bat .300 and also OBP .365, no.  Agreed.

But the funny thing is, for 100 PA's he actually HAS changed his game.  He's only swinging at 40% of all pitches, compared to the ML average of 50%.  And that's despite the fact that they're throwing him 69% fastballs.  Why has he suddenly tightened his zone so much?  You tell me.  But for 100 PA's, that's what he has in fact done.


Endy Chavez' walks don't go to zero because they center the pitch to him.  What they do is, on 2-0 and 3-1 they throw Endy Chavez fastballs.  Curves are harder to throw for a strike.  When you want to risk a HR but rule out the BB, what you do is throw a fastball.  Get it?, Got it, Good. The issue is the proportion of fastballs, of "giving in" because the man can't hurt you anyway.

They're doing this to Marte, giving him fastballs if and when they're behind.  It's resulting in an EYE of .80 and his having an easy time dealing with the pitching.  


That's "so far."  Without a doubt, Marte's walk rate will drop in September, as will his BABIP.  But he doesn't need walks or power in order to OPS+ 100.  If he bats .290 solid, he will OPS+ 100.  And that will make him Erick Aybar.   Or Denard Span, or Ben Revere, or Nori Aoki, or whoever.  Ketel Marte has a 70 HIT tool.  Let's see where he goes with it.


Q.  Might he become Jose Reyes, like the org said?

A.  No idea how Ketel Marte would ever hit 18 homers or steal 75 bases, no.

Wouldn't want to go there, but ... there are a lot of places you CAN go from a plus-plus HIT tool at the age of 21.


Q.  Leaving us where on Ketel Marte?

A.  Watching.  

Maybe he'll be nothing.  Or maybe he'll be an Altuve-level .320 hitter.  Or maybe he'll keep swinging at 40% of pitches and be an OBP guy.  Or maybe he'll learn to steal 40 bags.  But in any case, it beats watching Casey Kotchman.


Dr D




I like him in CF because we have 2 SS's. I suggested a long time ago that Tacoma give him some CF time.   But if he is significantly better with the glove than Miller/Taylor then he may be our SS.

He can't hit less than .270 and be very productive with the bat.  If he hits better than .290 then he is Ben Revere.  If he's a glovey SS who hts .280-.325-.360 then he isn't bad at all.  

I am watching with great interest.  We will have a new field boss next year, it will be interesting to see how he evaluates our 3 SS's.  


With Miller playing 3B, CF, all over the diamond, they seem to have tabbed him as the Zobrist and Marte as the SS.  Or perhaps they're just taking a look at Marte's glove?

My look has already been taken.  Marte is for choice at SS defensively over both Miller and Taylor, at least going by the first month here - 


some decisions are going to have to be made in preparing for next year... like who do the Mariners put in the OF in order to get them more experience in the OF... Miller or Marte? Do we really want Lloyd making that decision? Do we want the young assistant GM with questionable baseball knowledge to be making that decision?


for missing out and passing on Correa and Lindor is Ketel Marte. I'll take him, (sigh). He looks like the kind of kid who can solidify shortstop defensively for the next 6-7 years.  Let Miller move. We know where Miller will be at age 25: he'll be a young man fighting a 21 year old Ketel Marte for SS and losing out on being placed at the top of the batting order. He already passed up Chris Taylor in the pecking order, and that's pretty darned impressive. Chris is a good glove and accomplished AAA bat who looked good last season.

Yes, SSS. But I'll go with the scouts on this one - the guys who said move him up to The Show and have him bat leadoff. They were right.  


Good line Rick.  HEH. 

... where will Marte be at age 25?  Erick Aybar seems a reasonable forecast, with sunnier skies than that *feasible.*  Caveats apply.  But as you say, we don't KNOW where he'll be then...


Your observations match what I've seen, completely. I've seen Marte live a few times now - at a handful of spring training games this year and last, and the past two games here in Chicago. He definitely looks more comfortable in the field now than when I saw him muff a few grounders in ST. I also notice an interesting dynamic between him and Cano. There's been a handful of plays (infield popups, DP turns, etc) where Cano plays around with him like he does Cruz. i.e. if Marte calls him off for a popup, Cano will just stand right next to him staring at him, and when the play is over start giving him smack talk (this is all playful). All of that to say, he never did that stuff with Miller or Taylor... Lemme just check the B-Ref page here... Yup, Ketel is from the DR :) So I think there's a cool dynamic happening on the dirt between the 21 year old kid and one of the all time great DR players.

And as for his strike zone control, it's been fun to watch compared to a lot of the other young guys over the past few years. Ketel, as you said, knows how to hit and control the zone front to back. With most of our other hitters, except maybe Cano / Cruz / Seager / Smith, everyone else is guessing. Sure they might hit 20 bombs, but that's just guessing right. With the other dudes, they are HITTING. Anyways, it's refreshing. I hope he builds on it.


Both of those points had been lurking under the edge of my consciousness.  Thanks for articulating them.

Yes, it's REFRESHING to watch somebody "see and hit" rather than "guess and hit."  Refreshing is a great word for it.  ... could be that has me a little too interested.  But like we say, tearing up the AL for your first 100 AB's isn't a BAD thing just because Dustin Ackley did it.  :- )



Your Dom. Rep. point is really interesting.  A dynamic with Cano is something I've not noticed...but then I'm watching the tube, too.  

CF is a weirdness for us next year.  We could QO jackson and get the pick that comes with it....but I think I would be dangling him in front of the Nationals right now, as they are badly in need of a CF.  But, being 7 games back of the red hot Mets might make them less likely to swap anything out, too.

Jackson will leave, ergo Marte in CF.   But Flores could be a CF.  We would know, btw, if he hadn't been injured.  Bad mojo.  Maybe Kivlehan can play CF.  Or Jones.  Jones and Marte would be speed galore at the top of the lineup.....and it could work if Jones can get on base at a .330 clip.  He hasn't shown that ability, btw.  

Miller as an OF demands a platoon partner (career .555 OPS vL).  At SS you could live with that...but not in LF.  But Seth Smith demands a platoon partner in the OF, as well.  Having them both as OF'ers means you need two platoon guys to match with them.  You could DH Cruz vs. RHP and then move him to RF vs. LHP....but then you still need a RHB DH.  Montero?  That's going to be his entire role?  Or MOntero at 1B and Romero as a bench bat.  

Possible.  Or Kivlehan as a CF/COF/1B/3B guy?  I like that.

Anyway.....If Marte is our SS going forward, then CF is a concern....again.  If Marte is a CF, then SS and CF are pretty well set.

If he is clearly a better picker than Miller/Taylor then SS it likley is.

Today's game will be interesting.  His recent 2 game hitless streak is the first time since Aug. 4th-5th that he's done that.  Will be interresting to see his approach.


Marte is the starting shortstop next year

Lloyd makes that decision because he is (by far) the best choice for the manager's chair NEXT YEAR

Jackson comes back (discounted contract) to play center

OK, have at it...  :)


It's possible diderot,

How much will new GM want "his" guy?  Any new GM could assume that Lloyd knows the guys better than anybody else.....but you also have to look at a pretty lackluster managerial record when evaluating Lloyd.


My take:

For better or worse, Lloyd is the only African-American manager left standing. The pressure on John Ellis (who, interestingly, is still the M's representative with MLB) will be enormous to keep him. Since Mather has already said he will hire someone with experience, who will understand the issues, I suspect the following parameters will be important:

1. The team must be better than 76-86 (16-17 the rest of the way), so Lloyd is >.500 for his two-year tenure and "proves" he hasn't lost the clubhouse. Anything better than 17-16 and I think he gets to start 2016 for sure.

2. The team plays as hard or harder during September, even with all the "try-outs" and skipped regular rotation starts, as they have since the All-Star break (probably necessary to meet the above standard).

3. The bullpen stabilizes, showing he can manage if they perform.

4. Paxton, Beimel, & Jackson, in particular, perform at a level justifying Lloyd's faith in the latter two, and his excuse that the loss of the first (along with 'Kuma, who's already made his part of the point) was a major factor in the team's record.

Any incoming experienced GM will realize the situation and rationalize keeping Lloyd if these conditions are met, because causing grief for Lincoln, Ellis, and Mather is just not smart.

Whether this is "right" or not, I leave to the reader. But until the upstairs is remodeled, some decisions will continue to be made on a "least-resistance" basis.


I agree with your first paragraph entirely.  Particularly in Seattle.  One good thing about this social pressure, at least musing about it, is that Dr. D is a (mild) Kim Ng fan, and that could work to Ng's advantage...


Interesting idea that September could be critical for Lloyd.  Not sure why that hadn't occurred.


On the conclusion, a GM's decision ... my own suspicion is that this decision will be made for the GM, almost no matter who he is.  But I could easily be wrong and hope I am.

+1 amigo!


I'm a Kim Ng fan myself; but I think the "experienced GM" parameter will exclude her for now.

My hope is that Mather, as he gathers data, will realize that the LAD/CHC/AZ/Cleveland/Toronto system of a business CEO and a strong "baseball guy" COO above the GM is better than putting the GM out there with little back-up. His comments about the job indicate he may be starting to lean that way. At the very least he understands the need for strong, smart AGMs - and probably more than one.

A Beinfest-type backup to an analytical GM, with another strong individual for player development is my preferred outcome. Beinfest-DiPoto-Ng, with a planned transition if things go right would be very nice. I also think Jim Beattie is wasted as a scout with his development experience and Mariner background.

I think the BIG failing in Z's tenure was in development. My suspicion is that there have been too many "advisors" to the GM and not enough line accountability. That has to be job #1 for any new GM or "Baseball-Management Team" coming in. Strong, accountable leadership can fix a lot of things. Look at the Cubs!


Um, maybe I'm reading you wrong but I highly doubt that Mather is going to demote himself from the role of President & COO. Other than some wishful thoughts from some sports writers about Lincoln, I haven't seen any indication that they are thinking of changes to the executive structure - it's just the 'baseball operations' that Mather is reviewing. As far as I can tell, they are looking for a GM to work within the existing org, not to undertake a serious reorganization.

Whoever they get, the GM will be reporting to the President/COO, Mather. As with JackZ, that GM will have authority over baseball operations, although how much authority is to be determined. There is some indication that the new GM may not have say in whether Lloyd and his staff stick around and if the GM can't make that call, then I fear the next GM will be neutered from day one. 


"if the can't make that call, then I fear the next GM will be neutered from day one."

Ditto. If a new GM is "strongly advised" from above to keep McClendon that is an irradescent signal flair on a clear moonless night that his/her independence is a sham and there will be no significant shift in the oranizational status quo, that baseball plays a distant second fiddle to a business Charlie Daniels (sometimes mixed metaphors are useful!).

if the GM can't make that call, then I fear the next GM will be neutered from day one.  - See more at:
if the GM can't make that call, then I fear the next GM will be neutered from day one.  - See more at:
GLS's picture

All I know about her is that her name keeps popping up when GM slots open up. I believe she was a candidate seven years ago when Bavasi got fired. 

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