Mercy, Marte! Mariners top prospect homers twice

July 9th, 2022
Shari Sommerfield

This is the we’ve been waiting to see.

The Mariners No. 1 prospect continued his red-hot month of July, homering twice as part of a three-hit night in High-A Everett’s 10-5 win over Vancouver.

It was the first multihomer game of the season for Marte, who achieved three, including a three-homer game, in his full-season debut at at Single-A Modesto in 2021. Marte hit 17 homers at Modesto as a 19-year-old in 2021, a few years after signing for $1.55 million as the prize of Seattle’s 2018-’19 international signing class.

There might not be any player in the Mariners system who surpasses Marte, the game’s No. 20 prospect, in terms of raw power. He is also a shortstop with plus speed and arm strength, enough athleticism to move around the field and enough bat to profile at third base long-term if necessary. That bat is Marte's calling card.

But the production had been slow to show up this year at Everett. Marte homered only twice in April, hit .242 in May and .218 with four homers in June.

Those struggles factored some into Marte falling from No. 7 to No. 20 in MLB Pipeline’s latest Top 100 Prospects ranking. Here was how Pipeline prospect guru Jonathan Mayo explained the decision when asked about Marte in a recent inbox:

“Yes, we knocked Marte down 13 spots, and he’s now at No. 20, but count me as someone who is still very bullish on the shortstop,” Mayo wrote. “There have been concerns with his approach at the plate and the consistency between at-bats and games, the kinds of things really young players at times have to be forced to learn as they face adversity. He faced some, especially in May and June, but there are some early signs of him coming out of it this month … it’s not enough of a sample to go too crazy over, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if he keeps this going and we re-adjust accordingly. The bat is very real.”

As Mayo noted, July has been a different story. In seven games this month, Marte is hitting .429 (12-for-28) with four homers and 10 RBIs.

The Mariners are benefiting from contributions from many touted prospects this season, with former top prospect Julio Rodríguez carving out a strong Rookie of the Year case in center field, starters Logan Gilbert and George Kirby logging impact innings and No. 3 righty Matt Brash making the case to return to the big league rotation while at Triple-A Tacoma.

The 20-year-old Marte is still a ways away from joining that group, but that’s also why his ceiling is so high. While he’s struggled at times this year, he’s much younger than the average player at his level. And he’s starting to play like one of the best, period, in the Northwest League.