What are realistic expectations for Reds prospect Noelvi Marte in 2023?

Cincinnati Reds infielder Noelvi Marte.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Noelvi Marte. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, the Cincinnati Reds made the decision to add infield prospect Noelvi Marte to the team's 40-man roster. Marte, who was signed by the Seattle Mariners in 2018, would have been eligible for the Rule 5 Draft had Cincinnati not selected his contract.

This move, however, does start the clock in terms of Marte's minor league options. Once a player is added to a team's 40-man roster, he receives three minor league options. With Marte having only made it to High-A last season, the Reds will undoubtedly use one of his options next season.

While there's no rush to get Marte to the big leagues, seeing growth from the 21-year-old in 2023 is essential for Cincinnati if the plan to solidify the left side of the infield with both he and fellow prospect Elly De La Cruz. What are realistic expectations for Marte next season?

What are the expectations for Reds prospect Noelvi Marte in 2023?

Noelvi Marte, along with fellow infielder Edwin Arroyo, was part of the return from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for two-time All-Star pitcher Luis Castillo. The Reds also received right-handed pitchers Andrew Moore and Levi Stoudt.

After playing shortstop throughout his entire professional career, the Reds wanted to see if Marte had the chops to play the hot corner. Cincinnati sent Marte to the Arizona Fall League last month and he made the swtich from shortstop to third base.

The move makes perfect sense in that Cincinnati has a gazillion shortstop prospects in the farm system. That a bit of an overstatement, but between Jose Barrero, Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Victor Acosta, and the aforementioned Arroyo, the Reds are hopeful that at least one can turn into a solid major league shortstop.

Rather than add Marte to that lengthy list, the decision was made to shift the slugger several feet to this right. Marte has the arm strength to the play third base and the pop in his bat that mos scouts crave from a corner infielder.

Marte played in just 30 games for the Dayton Dragons in 2022, but collectively in High-A, he hit .279/.371/.458 with a walk-rate of 11.3% and a strikeout-rate of 20.6%. Those numbers suggest that Marte might be a more disciplined hitter than De La Cruz. While the Reds top prospect has superstar potential, a K-rate above 30.0% could hold De La Cruz back.

Look for Noelvi Marte to begin the 2023 season at Double-A. Provided his defense continues to improve and his bat is up to the task, Marte could make the leap to Triple-A shortly after the All-Star break.

It would be a big jump to see Marte go from Double-A to the major leagues in 2023, but a September call-up is not out of the equation. With Kyle Farmer off the roster, Marte has a clear path to be the Cincinnati Reds starting third base. That said, others such as Nick Senzel and Spencer Steer might have something to say about that.

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