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2019 MLB All-Star Game Preview

Ketel Marte starts in Cleveland.

MLB: All Star Game-Workouts Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Today is the 90th MLB All-Star Game. There were two per year from 1959-62, with the second game added to raise money for the MLB players’ pension funds. A National League victory this evening would bring the leagues even: right now, the American League has a 44-43 edge, with two games ending in ties. Those came in 1961 and the infamous 2002 contest at Miller Park, which was the only time since the award was started in 1962, where no All-Star MVP was awarded. Of late, the AL has been dominant: since 1988, they are 24-6 with that one tie. They have won the last six in a row, though none by more than three runs. The last blowout was the NL’s last victory, when they won 8-0 in 2012.

Ketel Marte becomes the seventh Diamondback to start for the National League, the previous ones being Paul Goldschmidt (2014, 2015 and 2018), Curt Schilling (2002), Luis Gonzalez (2001), Randy Johnson (2000), Matt Williams and Jay Bell (both 1999). It seems weird that Randy only started once, considering how dominant he was, earning four consecutive Cy Young awards. It has to be said, the record of our starters isn’t that good, historically: they have combined to bat .231 (3-for-13), with two walks and five strikeouts, but no extra-base hits or RBI. Be nice if Marte could come through today, to cap off the remarkable first-half of the season he has already had.

And remarkable it has been with Marte worth 3.5 fWAR to this point. Here’s where that stands in the D-backs all-time list of position player performances before the break.

  1. Luis Gonzalez, 2001: 5.7 fWAR
  2. Paul Goldschmidt, 2015: 4.8 fWAR
  3. Luis Gonzalez, 1999: 4.2 fWAR
  4. Paul Goldschmidt, 2014: 3.9 fWAR
  5. Paul Goldschmidt, 2013: 3.7 fWAR
  6. Justin Upton, 2011: 3.6 fWAR
  7. Ketel Marte, 2019: 3.5 fWAR
  8. Paul Goldschmidt, 2017: 3.5 fWAR
  9. Chris Young, 2011: 3.5 fWAR
  10. Miguel Montero, 2011: 3.3 fWAR
    Justin Upton, 2009: 3.3 fWAR

Only Goldy, Gonzo and J-Up have had more productive first halves than the one we’ve just seen out of Marte. It’s all the more remarkable, considering he was learning to play a new position as well (and not just shortstop to second base, but infield to outfield) Can he keep it up for the full season? He’s currently on pace for 6.2 fWAR, which would sit sixth in all-time franchise history, and the best since Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock in 2015 put up 7.2 and 6.8 fWAR respectively. We’ll see what the second half might bring, but there’s no denying that this evening’s honor is thoroughly rewarded.