Every year, around this time, I do a google to see what the MLB rookie eligibility is, because that’s how I decide if a guy is eligible for one of these posts. I can remember where I was when I learned Peter Sellers died in 1980 — on the Jersey shore, walking on the hot sand, sobbing my eyes out that Inspector Clouseau passed away, but I can’t remember the MLB rookie eligibility, that I learn every year. Is that long-term or short-term memory that’s ruined? I can’t remember that either! Any hoo! I bring this up, because, by my very thin calculations, Noelvi Marte is still a rookie, so Frank Voila! Here he is! Last year, in 35 games in the majors or 114 ABs, he hit three homers, stole six bags and hit .316. Hey, a 20/40/.300 hitter! Great! That works for me! As I said the other day in my Evan Carter 2024 fantasy outlook, and said again in each rookie outlook post since, there is no giant, flashing lights, behemoth top rookie this year, but there’s a lot of “Could be the 2nd best rookie in a year with a Corbin Carroll,” and Noelvi Marte is yet another one of those. He could be the best rookie in 2024 fantasy, but, if there were an actual best rookie, he wouldn’t be it. Or at least, it’s not readily obvious he’s that guy. So, what can we expect from Noelvi Marte for 2024 fantasy baseball?
Because Noelvi Marte had a lot of major league at-bats, we get a wide variety of possibilities for gawking. Here’s a fun one:
— Bally Sports Cincinnati (@BallySportsCIN) September 6, 2023
Damn, I love Great American Smallpark. Here’s one that I shouldn’t show you, but it’s so gee-dee funny, I had to:
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 4, 2022
What is that? A pop-up homer? That park might be more small-parky than Smallpark. He is legit, though:
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 30, 2023
Okay, enough of the fancy videos, let’s get down to bid-ness. Here’s what I said when he was called up, “Right now, it’s Saturday in Los Angeles, and there’s reports that a hurricane could be hitting the region for the first time in 70-something years. So, I am preparing as anyone from SoCal would prepare — I’m wearing a pussy hat and an altered 2016 campaign shirt that reads I’m With Herricane, while stockpiling avocado toast. Maybe it’s because I’m staring down death with a hurricane that could bring two to three (!) inches of rain, but I’m getting choked up at how awesome some of these Reds’ prospects are, and what that means for the future. “I love this crap!” That’s me auditioning for a new MLB commercial and getting the lines wrong. Any hoo! Noelvi Marte was in the Itch’s Top 50 fantasy baseball prospects, and he was right behind E! in the Reds’ prospects top 10, prior to the season. Itch said, ‘Marte checks in at 6’1″ 181 lbs but seems to be filling out in a hurry, just to the eye test. Next time we get a fresh weigh in, he might clear two bills. The power is plus-plus, and he controls the strike zone well for someone his age and level, posting a 13.5-to-18.3 percent walk-to-strikeout rate in 30 games for the High-A Reds. He’d posted a 10.7-to-21.3 percent rate in 85 games for Seattle before coming over in the Luis Castillo trade. Could be a sign he’s on an upward trajectory in that area, and he’s got the talent to sort of choose the type of hitter he wants to be. His big leg kick is changing shape here and there over the years as he navigates that path, and I’d like to bury Grey under the path.’ Yikes, what the heck?” And that’s me quoting me and Itch! Incredibly, he showed similar contact in the majors, and I might be a smitten kitten.
A trend I’m noticing, that might not be a trend and might just be confirmation bias, but there’s a bunch of guys who aren’t speed-first guys, who are coming up, and seeming to be speed-first guys, at least initially. He’s much more a 25/15 guy vs. a 15/25 guy, but he came up and went 3/6. Granted, small sample size, don’t talk shrinkage, but what I think we’re seeing is the rules changes are allowing 10-steal guys to be 20-steal guys, especially when they’re young. Rookies especially might struggle, but speed never struggles, so a 10-steal guy steals 20+. The projections, and this is a difficult one, because he’s a barely 22-year-old, who looks like he could hit 10-25 homers, steal 12-30 bags and hit anywhere form .260 to .300. Those are huge swings, literally and figuratively. I usually like to be much closer to a swing of maybe three to five homers and steals. So, with that in mind, I’ll give Noelvi Marte projections of 61/16/73/.271/22 in 526 ABs with a chance for much more and, I guess, less in speed, but guessing anyone is going to steal less in today’s game seems silly.