D-backs’ Torey Lovullo frustrated by Ketel Marte All-Star snub
Jul 4, 2023, 6:55 PM | Updated: Jul 5, 2023, 9:39 am
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks had three players make the All-Star game this year, their most since 2018.
Corbin Carroll, Zac Gallen and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. will all represent Arizona in Seattle on July 11, but a standout omission from the group was second baseman Ketel Marte.
The switch hitter has been a stalwart at the top of the D-backs’ lineup all season, as he is enjoying a healthy bounce back campaign.
Defensively, Marte has been mostly locked in with seven defensive runs saved, second at his position in the league.
He’s crushed both lefties and righties at the plate, despite historically finding better success against southpaws.
Marte owns a .864 OPS batting left-handed and a .874 OPS on the other side.
His first-half success is why manager Torey Lovullo was frustrated to learn of his absence from the team.
“He’s very professional about it but I’m hurting for him, I think we’re all hurting for him and I think he’s hurting, too,” Lovullo said Tuesday. “But he’ll be fine. There have been a lot of great players over time who have been overlooked in situations like this.
“If you look at certain WAR rankings, he’s the third best player in the National League, that’s what’s frustrating to me. How does the third best player not get voted into the All-Star Game? There’s a system in place and we all honor that system, but it’s frustrating. I’m frustrated for him but he’s fine.”
Marte entered Tuesday No. 8 in MLB and No. 5 in the NL in WAR by Baseball Reference at 3.7.
This came after a June in which he led the league in runs with 30, was sixth in RBIs with 22 and ninth in home runs with nine. He’s reached base safely in 54 out of his last 56 games, making an impact every game he plays in. The D-backs are 45-31 with him in the starting lineup and 5-4 without him.
The NL’s backup second baseman to starter Luis Arraez will be Ozzie Albies of the Atlanta Braves, who has had an impressive year with 20 home runs but trails Marte in batting average, on-base percentage and OPS+.
The Braves are the NL’s best team, though, and were rewarded with eight All-Stars.
“I can think of three maybe four with Marte, (Geraldo) Perdomo, (Christian Walker and Merrill (Kelly), who unfortunately is injured, who should have gotten some consideration. We’ll get there one day. You look at the All-Star team and it is loaded with Atlanta Braves,” Lovullo said.
“They’ve earned that, they’ve won world championships, they’re winning the NL East consistently and they’re recognized. I feel very strongly our guys will get that opportunity.”
There remains the possibility Marte would be a replacement in case someone bows out for injury or other reasons.
Marte made the All-Star Game in 2019 but has not since.
Gallen’s All-Star availability
Gallen is an option to start the All-Star Game for the National League, and Lovullo said he should be full-go to pitch in Seattle.
The D-backs have not yet announced their plan for starting pitchers this week with Kelly out. Zach Davies pitched Tuesday, Tommy Henry will be Wednesday and Ryne Nelson Thursday against the New York Mets.
Arizona has three more games before the break against the Pittsburgh Pirates to manage.
“I think Zac will be wide open,” Lovullo said. “He’s gonna pitch in that Pittsburgh series. Where that day is, he’ll be gassed up and ready to go for the All-Star Game. That is something we had a chance to organize and think about a little bit … Now that it’s upon us, I think we have to be mindful to give Zac the opportunity to show the world how good he is.”