Ketel Marte aspires toward Gold Glove win, is happy with his game
Ketel Marte wouldn’t let up a hint of disappointment or dissatisfaction.
“No,” he said through a team interpreter when asked whether it bothered him that he was one hit shy of the NL batting title. “I feel completely comfortable with all the decisions I made and I feel comfortable with the year that I had.”
Marte, fresh off a career year in which he finished fourth in the NL MVP voting, hit .329 with 32 home runs and 92 RBIs. But it might not be enough that he’s emerged as one of the D-backs’ best players. Rather, gaining recognition as one of the best players in baseball — particularly on defense — is of interest to the budding star.
The 26-year-old played most of last season in center field, starting 89 games there with 45 starts at second base and 11 at shortstop. This season, the expectation is that Marte will primarily play at second base as David Peralta, Starling Marte and Kole Calhoun are in the outfield.
In September of last year, Marte suffered a back injury. He suggested at the time through a team interpreter that the new artificial turf at Chase Field took a toll on him. He then changed course and said his injury had more to do with playing center field for the first time instead of infield.
“I feel comfortable playing all across the field,” Marte said Friday through an interpreter. “I understand the injury history, but I’m very open to playing all the positions that my manager and everybody wants me to play. I feel comfortable moving around as much as I can, but the one thing that would keep me [to] playing one position is more so trying to win a Gold Glove.
“To be honest, I don’t really have a preference, I feel that any position that I can play a full season in I have a really good shot to win a Gold Glove whether in short, second or center field. But I feel very blessed to have Nick Ahmed there at shortstop. I think that the combination of [me] and Nick at shortstop and second base is one of the best combinations we have in the league.”
That said, Marte is happy with where his game is.
“To be quite honest, coming off of last year, I feel comfortable going in with the same exact routine that I did last year,” he said. “I felt very comfortable with how I played. And last year, I didn’t take BP during the year. During the year, I didn’t take BP before regular season games, just a little bit before the games in the batting cage and that was my routine. I spoke with the hitting coach and I felt like that was where I felt the most comfortable. Just going to keep my same routine and hopefully produce the same if not better this year.”