Ahead of Marte, Bellinger had 19 first-place votes for 362 points, while Christian Yelich got ten and 317 points, while Anthony Rendon got the remaining top spot and 242 points. Marte finished on 198. Marte was mentioned on all thirty ballots cast, with a majority (18) putting him in fourth spot. Three writers had him ranked in the top three, including Zach Buchanan of The Athletic. The lowest placing was seventh, by Bob Nightengale - about which the less said, probably the better, but we’ve already crossed paths with him...
It was a breakout season for Marte, who came within a single hit of becoming the first player in franchise history to win the National League batting title. Both he and Yelich hit .329 for the year, but when you go down to a fourth decimal place, Yelich batted .3292 while Marte “only” reached .3286. [Luis Gonzalez also came second in 1999, his .336 average trailing Larry Walker of the Rockies by a slightly larger margin: forty-three points!] But Marte’s season at the plate wasn’t all about the average, as he swatted 32 home-runs, an unexpected power surge. For context, he surpassed his tally of 22 homers for the previous four seasons combined, covering 1,548 plate-appearances, before the end of July.
Marte made his first appearance as an All Star, and did all of the above while transitioning to his first professional season playing the outfield, where he was far from an embarrassment. There’s a case to be made he should have been in the top three candidates, since Marte’s producion was ahead of actual finalist Anthony Rendon of the Nationals. That’s true, regardless of whether you like fWAR (7.1 vs. 7.0) or bWAR (6.9 vs. 6.3). Ketel finished third among position players in the NL by either metric. Again, Ketel surpassed (fWAR) or just about equaled (bWAR) his production over the four seasons from 2015 through 2018 combined, in arguably the biggest breakout season ever by a D-back position player.
It’s the seventh time that a Diamondback has finished in the top five for MVP voting, though of course, we’re still waiting for our first Arizona winner (insert “Goldschmidt was robbed!” rant here...). Below are the previous such occasions: there seems to be a strange fondness for odd years there. In which case, roll on the 2021 campaign!
- 2017, Goldschmidt (3rd)
- 2015, Goldschmidt (2nd)
- 2013, Goldschmidt (2nd)
- 2011, Justin Upton (4th)
- 2001, Luis Gonzalez (3rd)
- 1999, Matt Williams (3rd)
Regardless, it was undeniably an amazing season for Marte, and I imagine there’s little doubt he will be winning the SnakePit MVP award, when that is voted on and announced, in a few weeks.