Ender Inciarte logs Braves’ first 200-hit season since 1996

Ender Inciarte added a 2016 Gold Glove and 2017 All-Star appearance to his major-league resume in the span of eight months. Now, it needs another update: 200-hit season.

On Tuesday night, the Atlanta Braves’ standout center fielder became the franchise’s first player since Marquis Grissom in 1996 to log 200 or more hits in a single season.

“Everybody was talking about it,” Inciarte laughed after the game. “I tried not to think about it but everybody was asking me, ‘Hey, how many more? How many more?'”

The milestone hit arrived off New York Mets starter Rafael Montero in the first inning, a line-drive double.

Inciarte, who signed a six-year extension after his first season in Atlanta, entered the final six games of the campaign hitting .306/.351/.412 in 704 plate appearances with 11 home runs and 22 stolen bases. The 26-year-old outfielder has also added 92 runs and 57 RBI.

“You’re going to have ups and downs and I was able to stay consistent when I started feeling better at the plate,” the 2017 Gold Glove favorite said. “Hopefully that’s what I got to do starting the year next year, help the team from Day 1 and hopefully we start winning more games.”

Inciarte is just the fourth player to reach the milestone in a Braves uniform since the organization moved to Atlanta:

SEASON PLAYER HITS WAR (FANGRAPHS)
1971 Ralph Garr 219 4.8
1966 Felipe Alou 218 6.1
1974 Ralph Garr 214 4.9
1968 Felipe Alou 210 6.2
1996 Marquis Grissom 207 4.6
2017 Ender Inciarte 200* 3.0*
1973 Ralph Garr 200 1.1

*Through 156 team games

Entering Tuesday’s action, only Colorado Rockies All-Star Charlie Blackmon had more hits in the majors in 2017. (Inciarte was tied with Houston Astros second baseman and American League MVP candidate Jose Altuve.)

“It’s so hard to do. I’d proud of what I have accomplished,” Inciarte said. “I had Altuve talking to me in the WBC (World Baseball Classic) telling me, ‘Hey man, two Venezuelans haven’t done it in one year. So we gotta do it.”