These D-backs veterans are deserving of ASG nods

June 8th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Steve Gilbert’s D-backs Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

SAN DIEGO -- Phase 1 of the balloting for the 2024 MLB All-Star Game, which will be held in Arlington, Texas, began on Wednesday, allowing fans to vote for the starting position players in both leagues.

The player with the most votes in Phase 1 in each league will automatically win the starting spot at their position. Fans can vote up to five times a day, every day until 9 a.m. MST on June 27.

There are eight Arizona players on the ballot, with two standing out as the most deserving of consideration: Second baseman and first baseman .

Marte entered Friday night’s game with a 3.4 bWAR, good for second in the NL among both pitchers and position players. His 1.2 defensive bWAR leads the NL.

Marte was an All-Star in 2019, and arguably should have been one last year, but was left off the team. Marte went on to have a strong second half in 2023, and was named the MVP of the National League Championship Series. The national recognition that he got in helping the D-backs reach the World Series was something that Marte clearly enjoyed.

“I think he's been very motivated on a different level from the first day of Spring Training,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “Maybe it was the NLCS, and the success he had in the postseason that made him feel really inspired to come in and be ready on day one of camp. I noticed that he was the first one to drills, he was operating at a very fast pace and it's translated into a really successful start. Last year at the break, he had numbers that would have indicated some consideration but he didn't get it and I think it really bothered him. And I know he's very motivated to change that.”

D-backs GM Mike Hazen was even more emphatic about Marte’s bonafide All-Star talent.

“He's one of our, if not our best, players on a nightly basis,” Hazen said. “We're a good team. He performs when it matters. He's been as consistent defensively as I've ever seen him. He absolutely deserves to go and start [the All-Star Game] probably.”

Walker would certainly like to see Marte finally get some recognition.

“For some reason, he just continues to be a guy who doesn't get enough credit around the league,” Walker said. “I don’t know if it's the market or what, but I mean, he deserves to be in the All-Star Game. Like it's just plain and simple.”

Lovullo and Hazen both feel Walker is deserving as well, but the challenging part for him is the level of competition he faces at first base from household names like Freddie Freeman, Bryce Harper, Matt Olson and Pete Alonso.

“But who knows?” Hazen said. “We'll see. He's having a great year. He's our most consistent hitter for sure.”

Walker also brings a defensive element to the conversation, having won the past two NL Gold Glove Awards at first base.

“I think he's incredible over there,” veteran shortstop Kevin Newman said. “I think that the value he brings -- giving us the confidence that all we need to do is get the ball close to him and there's a really good chance that he's gonna pick you up -- it's something that doesn't really get as noticed by fans, but it does in the clubhouse.”