A major storyline for Arizona Diamondbacks’ manager Torey Lovullo heading into the 2021 regular season surrounds the position that Ketel Marte will field in the year ahead.
It’s a question that manager Torey Lovullo addressed during a call with members of the media on Saturday afternoon.
Lovullo said that the four-time All-Star will see time at shortstop, second base and center field in 2021, but that his time at each position will depend on how he fares in spring training.
“I was the one that directed him to get most of his work early on at shortstop,” Lovullo said. “I feel strongly when I say that. It’s the hardest position to play in the infield, and you can’t get away with maybe cutting off angles or fooling yourself on a ground ball to say you were in the right spot.
“You have to do everything right. So I wanted him to get that base down pat and then we’re going to move him to 2nd base and into the outfield.”
Marte, who previously played shortstop in addition to second and third base since joining the D-backs in 2017, committed two errors in 42 starts in the infield a season ago.
His fielding percentage of .935 in 43 games at second-and-shortstop in 2020 was .25 lower than his next-lowest season-long average.
His defensive WAR of 0.6 in 2020 was the lowest for Marte since the 0.5 ranking he put up with the Seattle Mariners in 2016.
Right now, Lovullo sees Marte as the team’s backup shortstop, while getting the majority of the team’s reps in center field.
All of that is subject to change, however, based on the way Marte plays this spring.
“We’ve got to find out who’s going to be the backup shortstop, quite frankly,” Lovullo said. “And I want to see what he looks like over there, and he’s looked very good. But he’s also going to get reps in center and at second.
“So he’s been told that he needs to prepare for three spots, and it’s a fluid situation, depending on what happens during the course of camp.”