On June 9, in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 66th game of 162 to be played in the season, infielder Ketel Marte already had a new career high in home runs.
His dinger against Toronto Blue Jays starter Clayton Richard in the third inning on Sunday was Marte’s 15th big fly of the season, exceeding his total of 14 that he hit last year.
It’s somewhat of a small sample size to work with, because Marte is on pace to play more than 100 games this year for only the third time in his career. But in 249 games (968 plate appearances) from 2015 to 2017, the switch hitter had only eight home runs. Now, he’s got almost twice that in far fewer games.
It’s easy to see 2019 becoming a career year for the 25-year-old, who not only has a career high in home runs already but also can set new personal bests in slugging percentage, OPS, total bases, hits and runs if he keeps pace.
His numbers are even more impressive when singling out his at bats from the right-handed batters box, where he’s hitting .305 with nine home runs, 21 RBI and a .993 OPS in exactly 100 plate appearances this season. From the left side, he’s hitting .250 with six home runs and 24 RBI.
The D-backs secured Marte on a five-year, $24 million deal before last season, projecting high performance from a player who months prior hit a clutch triple in the NL Wild Card game, which Arizona won.
A similar development is occurring for fellow Diamondback Eduardo Escobar. The 30-year-old veteran’s career high in home runs is 23, which he set last year between the Twins and D-backs. This year, Escobar has already 15 in 64 games. With those numbers, Escobar would be on pace to play 157 games with 36 home runs, both career highs.