MLB All-Star Game ballots are here: Which Diamondbacks are early candidates?

Jun 5, 2024, 1:53 PM | Updated: 3:34 pm

Christian Walker and Ketel Marte...

Christian Walker #53 and Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate after scoring on a double off the bat of Eugenio Suarez in the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 10, 2024 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game ballots dropped on Wednesday with the Midsummer Classic less than six weeks out.

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo will run the National League squad in Arlington, and on Wednesday he laid out which D-backs he sees as top candidates to participate.

“Every single one of them,” Lovullo joked.

“Man, there’s some clear front-runners for me on this ballclub. Ketel (Marte) is a clear front-runner. Christian Walker is a clear front-runner. … I wish I could say some starting pitching, but everybody’s so banged up. I don’t know if we can go into that direction. (Reliever) Ryan Thompson has been having a heck of a year. (Closer) Paul Sewald is trending in a very positive way. He missed some time. Those are probably my starting points.”

All-Star Game starting position players are picked by the fans, while reserves and pitchers come from a combination of player ballots and the commissioner’s office.

The D-backs had four All-Stars last year, with Corbin Carroll voted as a starter, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. picked as a reserve, Zac Gallen pegged as the starting pitcher and Geraldo Perdomo selected as an injury replacement.

Fans can start voting online.

Which Diamondbacks are 2024 MLB All-Star Game contenders?

2B Ketel Marte

Starting with Lovullo’s picks, Marte has been a no-brainer All-Star to this point.

Marte entered Wednesday leading all NL second basemen in bWAR (3.4), OPS (.839) and runs (40). His 12 home runs and 14 doubles both rank second.

His main competition may be Luis Arraez of the Padres, who is hitting .335 but with a .775 OPS. The Cardinals’ Nolan Gorman has 14 home runs to lead all second baseman, an .824 OPS and plays for a massive fanbase that will help him on the ballot.

Marte’s defense has been a standout with eight outs above average, the best for an NL second baseman.

“I think he was deserving to be an All-Star last year,” assistant general manager Mike Fitzgerald told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke. “I think Torey told me he had a conversation with him, ‘Every team we play, you should view that as your opportunity to show these guys why you’re an All-Star caliber player.’ It’s not just about the numbers … it’s being able to have everybody who sees you play in a three- or four-game series say, ‘Man, that guy gets after it in every facet of the game.’

“There’s little things he’s doing regularly on a night-to-night basis, and I believe that is why he will be rewarded this year with an All-Star berth.”

1B Christian Walker

Marte’s partner on the right side of the infield is also the best defensive player at his position with five OAA after winning two straight Gold Gloves.

Walker offensively is third in the NL among first basemen in OPS at .820, trailing Bryce Harper of the Phillies (.893) and Freddie Freeman of the Dodgers (.883). Walker is also third in home runs with 12 behind the Mets’ Pete Alonso and Harper with 14 each.

Harper and Freeman are two of the biggest names in baseball, but Walker’s consistency and greater exposure from the postseason run in 2023 may help his case for a reserve spot.

RHP Ryan Thompson

Thompson has been as reliable as anyone could ask with 12 of his last 13 appearances scoreless and a 1.08 ERA this season.

He has two walks in 25 innings and the third-highest groundball rate among NL relievers (.630). But he is not a closer, which may have an impact.

The D-backs got a reliever in the All-Star Game in 2022, although Joe Mantiply was Arizona’s lone representative. The NL had six relievers make the team last year, all of whom were closers.

RHP Paul Sewald

Sewald is a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities and has nine straight scoreless outings.

The case against him is volume at this point since he spent the first five weeks of the year on the injured list (oblique). He is only at 9.1 innings this year, so he has some building up to do.

Any other Diamondbacks making a case?

RHP Zac Gallen

Gallen’s issue will be how long he is down since he went on the IL last week for a hamstring strain. He is throwing out to 90 feet already for what the team hopes is a near-minimum stint.

Gallen has a 3.12 ERA and 3.24 FIP, which are both No. 17 in the NL among pitchers with at least 50 innings. He has also been a top-end starter over the past three seasons with two top-five Cy Young finishes, which may put him top-of-mind for player voters.

He’s pitched like a contender to make his second straight All-Star Game, but more lost time will make it tougher.

DH Joc Pederson

Pederson is not playing every day, but he has been stellar in his role since signing as a free agent. He ranks third among NL designated hitters with a .920 OPS, trailing Shohei Ohtani of the Dodgers (.980) and Marcell Ozuna of the Braves (.986).

Two DHs get selected unless there is an injury replacement, and Pederson appears to be next in line behind the top two.

RHP Justin Martinez

Guess who leads qualified NL relievers in ERA on FanGraphs. Martinez has a 0.42 ERA and has 16 scoreless outings out of his first 17 games this year.

He only has 21.2 innings, most of which have been lower leverage. But he has emerged as a trusted option in big spots for the D-backs, a huge jump for the 22-year-old.

It’s hard to imagine this as a possibility, but if he continues to blow away opponents around the league, perhaps his name will be more popular quickly.

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MLB All-Star Game ballots are here: Which Diamondbacks are early candidates?