Reds' Marte adjusting to new position in AFL

October 20th, 2022
Noelvi Marte has been working on a position change to third base in the Fall League.Tyler Martin/MLB Photos

GLENDALE, Ariz. – One of the first texts Noelvi Marte received when he was traded from the Mariners to the Reds was from an old friend, who just happens to be one of the game’s youngest superstars.

“Julio [Rodríguez] was in shock,” Marte said in Spanish. “I was, too. I was so surprised to get traded that I didn’t know how to react. Honestly, I cried a little bit because I never saw it coming and I didn’t know anything about the Reds. But now I can say that I’m very happy and the Reds have welcomed me like family.”

Marte, the club’s No. 2 prospect (No. 17 overall), has seven hits, including one home run, and four runs scored in his first nine games for the Glendale Desert Dogs in Arizona Fall League play. He was acquired by the Mariners as part of the package that sent Luis Castillo to Seattle.

“When I first arrived in Arizona, my main goal was to get better at shortstop and overall defensively,” Marte said. “But now things have changed a little bit.”

The change Marte is referring to is the shift from shortstop to third base. He made his ninth consecutive start at the position against the Salt River Rafters on Wednesday night at Camelback Ranch and continues to get more comfortable at the position.

Marte, who will turn 21 on Sunday, is the first to admit the transition to third was difficult, physically and mentally.

“I had a rhythm at shortstop and a comfortable feeling, but I found myself not moving at all at third base,” Marte said. “It seems unusual, but I just stood there and watched. At shortstop, you are always moving around and backing up the pitcher or cutting off the ball or doing different things because you are always involved. It’s just different at third base, but I have made my adjustments and feel a lot better.”

It also didn’t take Marte long to realize the throw from third base is much different than the throw from shortstop. 

“I’m so used to hitting the first baseman in the chest with my throws and all of a sudden, my throws are falling short,” Marte said with a laugh. “It was a simple fix. I aim at the first baseman’s head and it hits him in the chest every time.”

Glendale manager Justin Jirschele has been pleased with the young infielder’s progress at third base and is optimistic about Marte’s future at the position. He also expects Marte’s bat to come around soon.

“He’s just naturally gifted athletically and the way his body moves just takes over there at third base,” the manager said. “He’s going to get more and more comfortable the more he plays over there and you are seeing strides in the right direction. It’s great to see for us and I am very happy for him.”

Sure, Marte has a new team and a new position, but his approach remains the same.

“I just want to play a good third base and we will see what doors that opens for me in the future,” Marte said. “I want to do what’s best for the organization and play where they need me. I’m very grateful to the Mariners because they helped me become the player and person I am today, but I’m also grateful to the Reds and happy to be here.”

Glendale pulled out a late win over Salt River, 5-4, thanks to a go-ahead two-run single by Tyler Black (Brewers No. 6) in the eighth. Marte played a part in the rally, drawing a bases-loaded walk with two outs to bring the Desert Dogs within a run. Zach Britton (Blue Jays) went 3-for-4 with three RBIs for the Rafters.