When the 2015 regular season opened for the Arizona Diamondbacks, the plan was for outfielder Ender Inciarte to divide playing time in left field with David Peralta. However, with a torrid hitting streak to start the season, Inciarte has proven to be a sparkplug for this team. He has gone 13 for 32 for .406 average through the first nine games. Inciarte’s speed on the bases and surprising outfield play, including a strong arm, have all been an added bonus.
Inciarte knows he has been given a big opportunity, and, with his fast start to the season, only needs to remain consistent to see regular playing time. If he can remain consistent at the plate and his defense continues to improve it would be hard to platoon him with just Peralta. Manager Chip Hale would look to make Inciarte a regular in the starting line-up and use him in all three outfield spots.
Inciarte signed as an international free agent with the Diamondbacks in 2008, at the age of 17, and was assigned to their Rookie affiliates for that season. He spent the next three seasons in the minors. In 2012 the Philadelphia Phillies selected Inciarte in the Rule 5 Draft. He competed for a spot with the Phillies as a backup outfielder and made their 2013 opening day roster. He only played in one game for the Phillies before being designated for assignment. The Diamondbacks reclaimed him from the Phillies that season and he was assigned to the AA Mobile BayBears. He went on to hit .281, with five home runs, 25 runs batted in, and 43 stolen bases for the BayBears. Inciarte was added to the 40 man roster and invited to Diamondbacks’ Spring Training 2014.
Injuries to Diamondback outfielders last season gave him his chance to play. Inciarte appeared in 118 games last season as the team’s primary center fielder. He did struggle at first, hitting just .156 in the May 2014, but put together a strong August and September batting .307 and .308, respectively. He finished with a .278 batting average, 4 homeruns and 27 runs batted in for the season, with 19 stolen bases in 22 attempts. He finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year balloting for 2014.
The Diamondbacks have a series against the SF Giants this weekend then have an off day on Monday April 20th and then begin an eight game home stand. Hope to see you out a Chase Field!
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