Noelvi Marte SS Cincinnati Reds
Noelvi Marte has been a top prospect for years at this point and he’s still just 21 years old. He’s been on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list prior to every season starting in 2020 and he now finds himself as the number 16 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com.
He’s playing in AAA Louisville at the moment and this season, across three levels, he’s hitting .282/.346/.452 with eight homers and 13 stolen bases. That combination of speed and power combined with a 55-grade arm tells me that we could play him at the hot corner which is a definite need and he could be the starter there on Opening Day of 2024.
You may look at Marte and say that the Reds would have no interest in moving such a player. I’d point you toward the Reds' current infield which includes Matt McClain, Jonathan India, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and the most exciting player in baseball, Elly De La Cruz. That means they have four guys (five if you add Marte to the list) to occupy second base, third base, shortstop, and DH. Even if you make the argument that Encarnacion-Strand should be at first base and displace the veteran leadership of Joey Votto, that’s still more players than they have room for.
Beyond that, this is a logical possibility as the Reds traded their own ace, Luis Castillo, to the Seattle Mariners last season for Marte, Edwin Arroyo (#24 prospect in baseball), and two additional pieces. Now, Castillo wasn’t a rental and that additional time certainly impacted the value of the return the Reds received for him, but Marcus Stroman and Cody Bellinger appear to be far and away the biggest difference-makers that will hit the trade market this summer and therefore they may garner that level of return.
As much as I’d hate to lose the rest of the season from Bellinger or Stroman, it would ease the pain to have six years of controllability from a player like Marte.