Now, the Diamondbacks are hopeful their infielder, who has logged nearly 1,000 major league at-bats before the age of 25, can build off that momentum and avoid complacency.
“There’s two parts to that: Knowing he has done it, and he has reinforced all the hard work that he’s done and he’s ready and prepared to take the next step. We’re hoping that it picks up right where it left off. He’s one of those players that played such meaningful innings last year that he grows and learns and projects a little bit better. On the flip side of that, there’s always a little bit of a danger. We get caught up in believing that it’s going to be a foregone conclusion that that we’re going to win the race. When players think like that, it’s a dangerous area.
“We want Ketel to get on-edge, perform with his pants on fire like last year because he’s a very special player.”
Middle Infield Shaking Out
Now, Marte is fighting for a spot in the starting roster in one of the most contested position battles in the Diamondbacks clubhouse this spring.
Along with Marte, Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings are candidates for the starting shortstop. As of late, Lovullo has been using Ahmed at shortstop consistently while Marte has assumed second base frequently, a spot that has been left open since the Diamondbacks traded away Brandon Drury.
For Marte, it doesn’t matter where he plays as long as he plays.
“I’m Dominican, I’m Latin, I can play anywhere,” Marte said. “If I have to catch, I can catch. If I have to pitch, I can pitch too. Anywhere.”