This Reds player will give way to Noelvi Marte when he returns from suspension

How will David Bell integrate Noelvi Marte into the Reds lineup?
Cincinnati Reds infielder Noelvi Marte
Cincinnati Reds infielder Noelvi Marte / Aaron Doster/GettyImages
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Noelvi Marte may return to the Cincinnati Reds active roster later this month. The Reds' top prospect was busted for PED use prior to the start of the 2024 season and is currently serving an 80-game suspension.

Reds manager David Bell informed the media that Marte will begin a rehab assignment — presumably at Triple-A Louisville — beginning on June 11th. Bell revealed that Marte will mainly receive reps at third base, but also second base and shortstop.

Marte can't get back to the Reds soon enough. Not only does Cincinnati need his bat in the lineup, but they also need his glove on the field. Jeimer Candelario's defense at the hot corner has been among the worst in the league.

Reds rookie Noelvi Marte will replace Jeimer Candelario at third base

Let's face it, Candelario was brought in this past offseason for his bat, not his glove. It's debatable that the Reds envisioned Candelario getting even one-third of his starts in the field this season. But Marte's suspension, coupled with the injury to Matt McLain forced the Reds' hand. The results have not been pretty.

According to Fielding Bible, Candelario is the worst defender on the Reds this season with -8 defensive runs saved (DRS). Even Jonathan India is raising an eyebrow at that number. In fact, there are only three players (Luis Campusano, Starling Marte, and Andrew Benintendi) in the majors with a worse rating. If you're looking for a silver lining, Candelario is tied with 10-time Gold Glove-winner Nolan Arenado who also has -8 DRS this season.

Outs Above Average (OAA) is a popular defensive stat nowadays, and Candelario's -4 OAA as a third baseman is among the worst in Major League Baseball according to Baseball Savant. Maikel Garcia of the Kansas City Royals is tops among third basemen with 5 OAA. The Chicago Cubs' third baseman Christopher Morel is at the bottom of the list with -9 OAA.

When Marte returns from his suspension, he'll undoubtedly supplant Candelario at third base, and join Elly De La Cruz on the left side of the infield. Candelario will then likely platoon at first base from time to time, but mostly serve as the Reds' designated hitter. Candelario started out slowly this season, but has hit .265/.330/.482 since May 11th and has six multi-hit games during that stretch.

The Reds' grand plans for the infield were derailed earlier this season due to Marte's suspension and a number of injuries. With Marte ready to return, this team will begin to look more and more like the squad that Reds President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall envisioned when constructing the roster this past offseason.

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