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The Ketel Marte All-Stars: How are these guys doing it?

I don’t know if that’s the craziest statistic in a season full of insanity, but it’s certainly one of those numbers that pops like a Jackson Pollock painting. Marte is on pace for 44 home runs — after entering the year with 22 career home runs in 1,399 at-bats. That’s one home run every 63.6 at-bats. In 2019, he’s homering every 14.5 at-bats. That’s the career rate for Sammy Sosa and is better than Manny Ramirez, Mickey Mantle and Ken Griffey Jr.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Marte reached the majors in 2015 as a speed-first shortstop who the Mariners envisioned as their future leadoff hitter. In his two seasons with Seattle, he hit three home runs in 656 at-bats, about a full season of playing time, and when his plate discipline deteriorated in his second season and he struggled on defense, the Mariners included him as the second piece alongside Taijuan Walker in the trade that brought Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger to Seattle.

That was Mike Hazen’s first big trade as Arizona’s general manager, and though Walker helped the Diamondbacks to a wild card in 2017 before he blew out his elbow last season, Marte’s emergence is making the deal look much better for Hazen than it did the first couple of seasons.5

The 25-year-old switch-hitter has filled out a once-skinny frame to add muscle and strength. He showed signs of power potential with 14 home runs in 2018, but nobody could have forecast this kind of outburst.

“The results are matching the potential,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo told the Arizona Republic. “Dynamic, exciting, those are single words that I can use. He’s a mature baseball player today compared to when we first met him. … He’s matured in a way where he feels he’s one of the top players, and you can tell by looking at him. But he’s still humble and would never outwardly say that.”

Working with new hitting coach Darnell Coles, Marte has tapped into his strength by — yes — changing his launch angle. His average angle has gone from 5.7 degrees to 11.2, meaning more fly balls and more home runs.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Marte’s power comes from a good foundation of contact hitting, however. Last season he ranked 19th in lowest strikeout rate among qualified batters. His strikeout and walk rates were basically identical to Anthony Rendon’s. He has been more aggressive this year, and while that has led to a few more strikeouts and a little more chasing out of the zone, it has paid dividends in the power department.