Maybe it would be unwise to put money on Ketel Marte again producing the type of season he had in 2019.
The Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman and center fielder batted .329, third-best in MLB. He blasted 32 home runs and his 6.9 WAR was sixth in baseball, a tick better than newly well-paid Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts.
At 26 years old, Marte still has upside. National League MVP-candidate upside?
Well, the competition for the award has tougher competition, according to The Athletic’s Jim Bowden. He predicted Marte will win the award should Arizona made the playoffs as a Wild Card club — Bowden also predicted that would happen.
“I went out of the box on this one,” Bowden said on CBS Sports. “I took the halfcourt three-point shot here. I’m going with Ketel Marte of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“I loved what I saw last year when he hit .330 with his 30 homers and 10 steals. I think it’s for real, and I believe that if they win … I don’t think there’s any doubt that if Arizona gets as a Wild Card team that Ketel Marte might be the MVP of the league.”
Bowden went into further details as to the “why” in written word for The Athletic.
The reigning NL MVP candidate, Cody Bellinger, has competition with players on his own Dodgers team, including Betts. Milwaukee Brewers star Christian Yelich might not garner consideration because Bowden predicts his team will struggle in the 60-game schedule that starts Thursday.
Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. could have a tough go with his team only playing NL East and AL East clubs due to the geographically-based schedule. He’s got to regularly face pitching staffs from the New York Yankees, Washington Nationals, Tampa Bay Rays and more.
Marte, Bowden argues, has an easier path to putting up big numbers. And for that, he predicts the Diamondbacks will benefit and challenge for a playoff spot.