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The Road to The Show™: Noelvi Marte

No. 11 overall prospect can keep young talent flowing to Seattle
Mariners second-ranked prospect Noelvi Marte hit 17 homers for Single-A Modesto in his first full season last year. (Jared Ravich/
May 10, 2022

Each week, profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken to reach the brink of realizing his Major League dream. Here's a look at second-ranked Mariners prospect Noelvi Marte. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here. The Mariners’ transformation into a

Each week, profiles an elite prospect by chronicling the steps he's taken to reach the brink of realizing his Major League dream. Here's a look at second-ranked Mariners prospect Noelvi Marte. For more stories about players on The Road to The Show, click here.

The Mariners’ transformation into a postseason contender was accelerated by their recent infusion of homegrown talent. Noelvi Marte is proving there’s more on the way.

Last year, rookies Logan Gilbert and Jarred Kelenic helped the Mariners get to the cusp of the postseason. This year, the club is receiving early contributions from Julio Rodriguez -- MLB Pipeline’s No. 3 overall prospect -- and the recently promoted George Kirby, who ranks 30th overall.

Marte comes with similar acclaim. At 20 years old, he currently ranks No. 11 overall, and there are four names ahead of him on the list already in the Majors. It’s realistic to expect Marte to follow Rodriguez’s path as a member of Pipeline’s Top 10 in multiple seasons before cracking the big leagues.

Marte and Rodriguez have been linked since they signed with the Mariners out of the Dominican Republic in consecutive seasons. In Rodriguez, the Mariners needed to be aggressive to land one of the best players in the 2017 class. The club followed suit the next year to bring Marte, who ranked No. 7 in the 2018 class, on board with a $1.55 million bonus.

"Our scouts identified Noelvi Marte as a player with impact speed and power," Tim Kissner, former director of international scouting, told in 2018. "Those skills, combined with his ability to hit, pushed him to the top of this international signing class. His makeup and instincts for the game are well above average, and we believe he will excel once he begins working with our player development group."

Kissner’s words rang true almost immediately. Marte made his professional debut the following year in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League and led the circuit in RBIs (54) and total bases (134). He finished in the top five in hits (81), doubles (18), triples (9) and extra-base hits (31) while batting .309 with an .882 OPS, nine homers and 17 stolen bases.

While the end results exceeded expectations, what stood out to Marte was a week in July where he went hitless in 23 consecutive at-bats. He did most of his damage after coming out of that slump, batting .379 with 18 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs over the final 29 games of the season.

“Playing in the summer league helped me learn a lot about professional baseball and what it takes,” Marte told in 2019. “The biggest challenge was going a week without getting a hit, but never losing faith in myself and trusting that I could get out of the slump. I’m a champion and champions never quit. I’ve learned to keep that mentality no matter the situation.”

Marte wasn’t immediately able to follow up on his excellent debut after the pandemic wiped out the 2020 season. But he was able to make an impression as the youngest player at the club’s alternate site.

“We see an exciting young player who we think will impact the Major Leagues,” Andy McKay, the Mariners' director of player development, told “This is his first full professional season and he obviously answered the call. He’s been great and he really could not have played any better as a first-year player in our system.”

Marte’s stateside debut in the Minors arrived last year with Modesto. On most nights in the Low-A West last year, Marte was the youngest player on the field. But he more than held his own against the advanced competition. He finished with a .271/.368/.462 slash line, but really tapped into that power that scouts noticed before he was even eligible to sign. Marte ranked third on the circuit with 17 homers and led the league in runs scored (87). He finished among the Top 10 in RBIs (69), hits (112), doubles (24), walks (58), extra-base hits (43) and total bases (191).

“He never backed down and continued to prepare and compete. … He has proven that he can handle adversity. We couldn’t be prouder of how he handled last summer and how he has responded in [Low-A],” McKay told last July. “The hit tool and the raw power are usually the first things people notice when they watch him compete. His ability to drive the baseball is very unique for his age.”

Marte earned his first Minor League promotion at the end of the season and played the final eight games with High-A Everett. He went 9-for-31 at the plate with four doubles to close out the year and solidify his place as one of the game’s best prospects.

Although he is still listed at the same height and weight as the time of his signing as a teenager, Marte has kept growing. Some speculate that he’s at least 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, or “a grown freaking man” as former Mariners’ All-Star outfielder and current special assignments coach Mike Cameron called him this spring.

With the added size and muscle, Marte turned heads at Mariners camp. He went hitless in five Cactus League at-bats, but his strength and maturity provided some electric batting practice sessions and even a few memorable moments before the season started.

“I think the thing that most helped me that day was staying really focused; locked in,” Marte told “Obviously, it was a great experience. From that day on, I learned more like, ‘OK, I have to be consistently trying to be focused on every single at-bat.”

After breaking camp, Marte, the club’s second-ranked prospect, has gotten off to a respectable start with High-A Everett in his third professional season.

He addressed some concerns during camp that should fade away as he naturally matures and gets more professional at-bats. Marte explained that he goes to right-center with his natural swing and approach but can get pull happy when he’s slumping and overextending himself. He said that, over time, he’ll learn to stay with his natural swing through those difficult stretches.

Defensively, he’s only played shortstop, and he’ll be able to continue to learn the position from Mariners infield coach Perry Hill, who is considered one of the best in the game.

“I feel really comfortable [at shortstop] because it’s the position that obviously I’ve been playing since I was little,” Marte told this spring. “I’m just trying to get better every single day.”

His size and power profile may push him to the hot corner, but there’s no need for the Mariners to rush to make that change. Marte thrived against older competition and is still fairly young for his circuit, but he’s likely to need at least another full season in the Minors before joining Rodriguez and Kirby in Seattle. But until that time comes, Marte will be one of the most high-profile prospects in the Minors.

Gerard Gilberto is a reporter for