The Reds are promoting another top prospect. As the Reds try to hang tough in the playoff race, they’ve promoted third baseman Noelvi Marte to the big leagues, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
The Cincinnati Reds are calling up infielder Noelvi Marte, their latest rookie in a ridiculously good class to debut in 2023, sources tell ESPN.
Other Reds rookies: Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Andrew Abbott, Spencer Steer, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Brandon Williamson.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 19, 2023
The Enquirer’s Gordon Wittenmyer has confirmed the report.
Of course, Marte was the co-headliner of the return the Reds received for starting pitcher Luis Castillo at the 2022 trade deadline. The Reds are hoping the 21-year-old, currently their top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, will give them a boost as they aim for a postseason berth. They’re currently in second place in the NL Central, just two games back of the Brewers, and they hold the final Wild Card spot in the National League. Marte will join an exciting group of rookies as he teams up with Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Spencer Steer.
It’s another aggressive promotion for the Reds, as Marte has played only 89 games above the Double-A level. The 21-year-old started the season in Double-A Chattanooga, where he hit .281/.356/.464 with a 115 wRC+ in 222 plate appearances. He was promoted to Triple-A Louisville when the second half of the season started and has hit .280/.365/.455 with a 104 wRC+ in 167 plate appearances. Marte has above-average contact skills and plus raw power, though he’s still trying to tap into it more often. Across both minor-league levels, Marte has 11 home runs and 18 stolen bases this season, and he has demonstrated strong plate discipline (10.8 BB%, 17.5 K%). In his time with Louisville, Marte has an average exit velocity of 89.4 mph (53rd percentile at the MLB level) — topping out at 113.8 mph (90th) — and a 43.3% hard-hit rate (64th), but just a 4.5% barrel rate (15th).
Prior to joining the Reds organization, Marte had almost exclusively played shortstop. But he played third base in the Arizona Fall League last year and has started making the permanent switch this season. While Marte played 30 games at shortstop in Chattanooga, he played third base exclusively at Triple-A (37 games).
Third base will likely be Marte’s home at the MLB level, pushing Steer to left field on most days. With Jake Fraley on the injured list and his timetable to return unknown, the Reds have been giving Stuart Fairchild regular playing time in the outfield. Fairchild will likely head back to a platoon role, as Steer should now get everyday time in left field, with TJ Friedl and Will Benson starting in center and right field against right-handed pitchers. With Marte at third base, the rest of the Reds infield should consist of De La Cruz at shortstop, McLain at second base, and Encarnacion-Strand and Joey Votto splitting time at first base and designated hitter.
Marte is already on the 40-man roster, which means the Reds only need to make one corresponding roster move. It could mean the end of Kevin Newman’s time in Cincinnati, or the team could simply send Henry Ramos or TJ Hopkins — who has only three plate appearances since his call-up on August 5 — back to Louisville.
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