Starter Marte the lone D-backs selection for All-Star Game

July 7th, 2024

A loud cheer erupted in the visitors' clubhouse at Dodger Stadium as the news came in: For the second time in his career, and for the first time since 2019, is the National League’s All-Star starting second baseman.

Marte beat out fellow finalist Luis Arraez of the Padres in Phase 2 of MLB’s All-Star Game voting, as announced on ESPN on Wednesday. Arraez, then with the Marlins, was last year’s NL starting second baseman.

Pitchers and reserves were announced on Sunday, and no D-backs were selected to join Marte on the NL squad.

Marte, who received 55% of the vote (391,778 to 313,363), joins Paul Goldschmidt as the only D-backs players with multiple fan elections. The All-Star Game will be played on July 16 at Globe Life Field (FOX).

“It's a very special moment, especially because the last couple of seasons, I have been dealing with different injuries, [especially] the hamstring,” Marte said through an interpreter. “So it hasn't been easy. But since last year, I've been feeling really good.”

Strains in both hamstrings limited Marte to just 90 games in 2021, and those issues followed him into ’22, impacting his performance at the plate. He felt good enough to put up All-Star caliber numbers last season, but he did not find his way onto the roster as a starter or a reserve.

“I know the heartache and frustration that he experienced last year in Anaheim when we had to tell him that he did not make the All-Star team,” said manager Torey Lovullo. “… I think there was an internal drive, there was something extra in his gears when he was working out this winter, to never allow himself to feel that way again.”

Marte responded to the snub with a strong second half and an even better postseason run that saw him named NL Championship Series MVP. And now, he is in the midst of another strong season, carrying a slash line of .284/.353/.506 with 17 homers and 51 RBIs entering Sunday. He leads all MLB second basemen in bWAR (4.3), RBIs, OPS (.859) and runs (59), and he leads NL second basemen with 95 hits. He’s tied for the MLB lead at the position in homers.

Marte has not started the D-backs' past two games because of lower back stiffness, but he is considered day to day and is expected to be OK for the All-Star Game.

Among the highlights of Marte’s season so far are a 21-game hitting streak that lasted from April 28-May 22. It is tied for the second-longest hit streak in MLB this season and tied for fourth longest in D-backs franchise history.

“When I'm healthy, I know the numbers are going to be there,” said Marte. “Being here now, it kind of reminds me of 2019, when I was there as well.”

In that 2019 All-Star Game, the only other Midsummer Classic appearance of his career, Marte went 1-for-2 with a double. That selection came as a bit more of a surprise, as the team found out by watching the results show on TV together in the visitor’s clubhouse in San Francisco.

This time, Lovullo had advance notice and was able to call a meeting, with cameras on hand to document the moment of revelation. But even if his teammates knew what was coming, that didn’t make the moment any less joyous, particularly given all that Marte has gone through over the past five seasons. And, naturally, it was Marte’s good friend Eugenio Suárez whose cheers were the loudest.

“There's a very strong bond in that room,” said Lovullo. “These players care about one another. I think they legitimately love one another. And for us to recognize [Marte] -- and Geno stepping up and being the loudest voice in the room -- doesn't surprise me at all.”