Noelvi Marte Prospect Breakdown

Noelvi Marte Prospect Breakdown

Noelvi Marte seems to get lost in the onslaught of young stars on the Reds. In the infield alone, the team has Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand all of whom seem to get more attention than Marte. Once a top prospect in baseball, it seems as though the dynasty community has got tired of talking about him. Marte however just keeps on hitting and it is time for the fantasy community to start paying attention.

Even after slashing an impressive .316/.366/.456 in his major league debut, Marte continues to be underrated. I took Marte at 176 overall back in November at First Pitch. While his draft price has started to come up in recent weeks (ADP of 158 across the 25 DCs in February), he is still a great value. Teammates De La Cruz and McLain are going 27th and 65th overall respectively. Drafting Marte provides you with as much upside at a fraction of the cost. If you prorate his three home runs and six stolen bases across 600 plate appearances you get 15 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Sign me up for that value outside of the top 150 picks.

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Noevli Marte – The Best of the Next Wave of Reds?


What Noelvi Marte Has Shown Us


Marte was viewed by many as one of the top prospects during the 2018 International Signing Period. The Mariners landed the 16-year-old Dominican shortstop for $1.55 million. The team wasted no time bringing Marte state-side and he did not disappoint. In 65 games at the Rookie level, Marte put up a stellar .309/.371/.509 slash line with a 138 wRC+. Still, few dynasty managers pay attention to rookie league slash lines. The Marte hype really picked up speed after the pandemic.

The Mariners remained aggressive with Marte, sending him to Low-A in 2021. He continued his offensive dominance, posting a .831 OPS in Low-A before earning an end-of-season promotion to High-A. Although the home run and stolen base totals were less than many expected, Marte’s stats look more impressive once you factor in his age differential. Marte was two years younger than the average player in Low-A and 3.9 years younger than the average player in High-A. He was holding his own against much older competition which should have only added fuel to the fire.

Instead, prospect fatigue set in. Comments surrounding Marte’s physique and future physical projection started getting louder and louder. Negative speculation around his conditioning and thickening lower body increased and many feared that a positional change to third base could tank his future fantasy value. Not long after, Marte was dealt to Cincinnati in a four-player package to net the Mariners Luis Castillo.

The negativity from many in the fantasy community lowered Marte’s presence on top prospect lists. The start to last season did not help change that. Marte hit just .234 in April with one home run. Once he finally started to heat up,  he missed two weeks in June with a hamstring strain. The prospect fatigue reached an all-time high and Marte’s dynasty value continued to plummet.

All the negativity seemed to light a find under Marte and everything started to click. The Reds were aggressive in sending Marte to Triple-A on June 28th which is exactly what he needed. Marte put up an impressive slash line of .280/.365/.455 in 39 games. As the dynasty community was starting to buy back in, the Reds doubled down in their belief in Marte by promoting him to the major leagues. There the numbers got even better. Marte put up a 120 wRC+ at just 21 years old.  An already iconic moment in his career was a walk-off single against the Cubs to start September:


Breaking Down Noelvi Marte’s Tools


Marte saw his strikeout rate tick up from 17.1% in AA to 18.6% in AAA and 20.3% in Cincinnati, but that would be above average for a major-league power hitter. He combined for a 10.8% walk rate in AA/AAA last year before losing some patience with a 6.5% walk rate for the Reds.

What really sets Marte apart is his exceptional bat speed, which ranked second on the Reds last year to Elly De La Cruz. It allows him to wait a millisecond longer than most hitters and the ball explodes off his bat.

Marte’s batted-ball data was impressive with a 91.3 mph average exit velocity, a 46.1% hard-hit rate, and a .295 xBA – all well above average. As he gets more comfortable against major-league pitching, he should find the barrel more and the ball should start flying out. And his sprint speed was in the 91st percentile last year!

As a natural shortstop with a strong arm, Marte was able to make a smooth transition to third base last year. With another wave of infield of talent not far behind in the minors like Edwin Arroyo and Sal Stewart, Marte could eventually move to an outfield corner.


Noelvi Marte’s Fantasy Value for 2024 and Beyond


Playing time is the primary issue suppressing Marte’s 2024 fantasy value. The Reds’ infield is a logjam. Everybody expected the team to trade Jonathan India but that is yet to happen. Even if both India and Spencer Steer move to the outfield, the infield is still crowded. To make matters worse, the team went out and signed Jeimer Candelario to a 3-year, $45 million free-agent deal.

Everybody is waiting to see how the playing time in Cincinnati plays out. Barring an injury, there are seemingly only two lineup spots left between Marte, Encarnacion-Strand, and India. Could all three rotate in and out seemingly hurting the value of all of them? The answer remains to be seen. However, talent usually wins out in the end and Marte has that in spades. He is a better defender, a more well-rounded hitter, and is better on the base paths than both of the other two options. Fantasy managers should draft as if Marte has a grip on an everyday job. He has the upside to finish toward the top of the third-base ranks in fantasy as early as this season.

Marte’s prospect status is back on the rise heading into 2024. I currently have him seventh on my prospect rankings at RotoProspects.com.

There is a lot to be excited about with Marte’s long-term outlook. He combines solid plate discipline with plus-plus raw power and has the speed to pile up stolen bases. Put that profile in Cincinnati’s launching pad and it is easy to dream about 30-30 upside. That is the kind of ceiling you are getting when adding Marte in your dynasty league. At just 22 years old, the sky is truly the limit.

One extra concern to watch with Marte this spring is his health. He suffered a Grade-2 hamstring strain at the end of November in the Dominican Winter League. He will be held out of the Reds’ first five spring training games. While this does not sound serious it is something to monitor. If the issue lingers, the Reds could opt to use this as a temporary solution to their infield logjam.

Rudy Ropp

Rudy Ropp is a Dynasty Fantasy Analyst here at Pitcher List and has written about fantasy baseball since 1999. Co-founder of RotoProspects.com which features a weekly-updated Top 500 Prospects and a monthly-updated Dynasty Top 500 Rankings. I have similar love for movies and music - my dream used to be the next Quentin Tarentino as a former video store clerk or a Rolling Stone writer like in Almost Famous. In addition to being a fantasy baseball nut, I'm a dad, avid traveler, Star Wars fanatic, lifelong Mariners fan, pickleball player, and newspaper sports writer/designer/editor.

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