D-backs’ Lovullo: Too soon to know how to deploy ‘Marte Partay’
Jan 28, 2020, 11:02 AM | Updated: 2:44 pm
Credit FanGraphs’ Jay Jaffe for the “Marte Partay” nickname.
The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Monday addition of Starling Marte, who will presumably play center field, teams him with 2019 All-Star Ketel Marte, and there’s a good chance the unrelated Martes could be stacked atop the D-backs’ batting order.
Manager Torey Lovullo said Tuesday that he’s not yet delved into how his lineups could shake out, but the manager loves that GM Mike Hazen has given him another chess piece.
“I’m equating it to some people who led some armies,” Lovullo told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “You’re not going to play the same way, or you’re not going to attack every single night. You’re going to make some adjustments based on what you’re getting from your opponent.
“I can’t quite predict what it’s going to be like or how it’s going to be, but I know that we have some really, really good pieces, and it just keeps getting better. I think our front office never sits still and they know where the soft spots are, they know what we got to do to get better.”
Starling Marte slashed .295/.342/.503 with 23 home runs and 82 RBIs last season.
He has three playoff appearances under his belt in his seven years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who traded him to Arizona for two of the D-backs’ top 10 prospects, shortstop Liover Peguero and pitcher Brennan Malone.
“We are thrilled obviously when you bring somebody of his caliber into the organization,” Lovullo said of Marte. “He won in Pittsburgh early in his career, so he knows what that tastes like.
“He’s going to help us win some baseball games and that’s the bottom line.”
Piecing together an ideal batting order, the Martes could go one-two with Eduardo Escobar, David Peralta, Christian Walker and Kole Calhoun providing some middle-of-the-lineup power. Catcher Carson Kelly showed some relative pop in the batter’s box last year, too, and elite shortstop Nick Ahmed has steadily improved at the plate.
Lovullo likens his team’s structure to that of the Atlanta Braves, a tough team with a full lineup of competitive batters.
The Diamondbacks have slowly departed from the slugger-driven lineup of Lovullo’s first year on the job, when Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez mashed Arizona’s way into the 2017 postseason.
“At times I was J.D.- and Goldy-watching in our lineup, waiting for it to come around to them,” Lovullo said. “But you’re going to see some teams that will build it one through nine.
“I think we’re going to wear you down. We’re going to be that classic body-blow guy that’s going to go in there and fight you for 15 rounds. We have that mentality right now … but I think we’re going to have a bunch of different ways to knock you out this time.”
As for the twin Martes that bolster that idea, Lovullo is buying stock in that, too.
“I love the ‘Marte Partay,'” he said. “I’m not going to deny that.”