Arguably the greatest infield prospect in Mariners history not named Alex Rodriguez, SS/3B prospect Noelvi Marte seems destined for stardom already.
Despite missing the 2020 season due to the pandemic, 20 year old Marte has done nothing but impress in his young career. Through his first 172 games Marte has hit .286 with an impressive 46 doubles, 6 triples, 26 home runs, 125 RBI, scored 147 runs, and stole 41 bases. While those stats may have come in A ball, they’re eye opening enough to realize this kid has the potential to be the real deal.
Much of Marte’s power comes from his buttery smooth swing. He does an excellent job of getting his hands under the ball (40.7% fly ball rate in 2019, 32.8% in 2021) and has exceptionally quick hands. He does have a major tendency to pull the ball (56.1% in 2019, 52.3% in 2021) but that should no longer be an issue with the players Union agreeing to ban the shift.
While Marte is currently playing shortstop in the minors, he projects as more of a third baseman at the major league level. As elite as his offensive numbers are, he’s the complete opposite defensively. In 162 games he’s played in the field, Marte has a whopping 60 errors. He has shown decent improvement in this past season. With his 60 errors split perfectly between the 2019 and 2021 seasons, his 30 in 2019 came in just 533.1 innings while his 30 in 2021 came in 868.2 innings.
Marte may be nowhere near major league level defense. Let alone starting shortstop defense. But thankfully for him, guys like Vladimir Guerrero Jr have proven that being a defensive liability can be quickly forgotten with a move to a less important position and an otherworldly ability to hit the ball.
Coming into the 2022 season, Marte figures to start the year with the High-A Everett Aquasox. Don’t be surprised if a hot start is followed by a quick promotion to Double-A. Marte is still ultimately at least one more season away from sniffing a major league at-bat. He will need to show more improvement in the field, but Marte’s light is shining so bright right now that the Mariners may come to the point where they have no choice but to make room for him in the lineup. Either way, the future of the Mariners infield looks to be in good hands.