Leave it Jim Bowden to give Reds Country something to talk about. That's right, every Cincinnati Reds fan's favorite general manager, who is now a contributor for The Athletic (subscription required), is back with some predictions for the upcoming 2024 season.
One of Bowden's latest submissions cites the 40 young MLB players and prospects he's most excited to scout in spring training. Of course, Bowden worked in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization for years before joining the Reds where he was named general manager in 1992. So while Reds fans get a chuckle by poking fun at Bowden, he's seen a lot of baseball over the years.
One of the young players Bowden mentions is Reds rookie third baseman Noelvi Marte. Bowden believes Marte should be able to join the 20/20 club during the upcoming season if he gets at least 500 plate appearances.
Reds infielder, Noelvi Marte, almost assured Rookie of the Year if this prediction comes true
That's no small feat. In fact, as ballyhooed as both Elly De La Cruz and Matt McLain were during their rookie campaigns, neither reached the 20/20 club. De La Cruz, in 427 plate appearances, had 13 home runs and 35 stolen bases. McLain, who ended his season on the IL with an oblique strain, had 16 homers and 14 steals in 403 plate appearances.
Only three rookies recorded 20 homers and stole 20 bags a year ago. One was the NL Rookie of the Year, Corbin Carroll, and the other two were Anthony Volpe and Nolan Jones. The year prior, three more rookies pulled it off. Julio Rodriguez, Michael Harris, and Bobby Witt Jr. all had a 20/20 season in 2022. Of the six players to win Rookie of the Year the past three seasons, four have hit at least 20 home runs and stole 20 or more bases.
If Noelvi Marte is able to amass 20 round-trippers and steal 20 or more bags, there's a really good chance that he's not only going to be in the Rookie of the Year conversation, but he could actually take home the award. If Marte is able to win the NL Rookie of the Year honors, it would be the second time in four years that a Reds player has done so. Jonathan India took home the trophy in 2021.
Marte ended the 2023 season on a 16-game hitting streak, and the Reds fan base are hopeful the streak remains alive and well after he steps into the batters' box on Opening Day. Marte suffered a hamstring injury during Winter Ball, but all signs point to him being ready to go once spring training begins.