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  • Writer's pictureZack Fryman

The Suspension of Noelvi Marte

Updated: Mar 18

The top prospect and probable starting third baseman has been suspended by MLB. Now what?

Marte stands in for a plate appearance at GABP in September 2023. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Suspended for 80 Games

Man. Any time a major leaguer is suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs, it is newsworthy. You just hope it doesn't happen to your favorite team. In the post-steroid era, testing positive carries a serious penalty. The first offense is an 80 game suspension, second is a 162 game suspension, and the third is a lifetime ban. 3 strikes and yer out, as they say.

This is not common news for Reds fans. Since MLB began enforcing its drug prevention and PED policies, only one Red has faced suspension. That was Edinson Volquez back in 2010, and the team was hardly impacted as he served most of his 50 games while rehabbing from an arm injury.

On Friday, it was announced that Noelvi Marte tested positive and will face an 80 game suspension, missing the first half of the season. Also, per MLB's rules, Marte will be ineligible for the postseason roster if the Reds make it that far. A brutal loss for the organization, as they do expect to make the playoffs after an 82-80 finish in 2023, missing a wild card slot by just one game.

The Impact

Noelvi Marte is ranked as the # 1 Reds prospect, # 2 third base prospect in MLB, and # 21 overall prospect in MLB's top 100. His name was being thrown around as an early NL Rookie of the Year contender. He performed well in his trial run in "The Show," batting .316/.366/.456 with 36 hits in 35 games. These shoes will not be easily filled, but luckily, the Reds have options.

Marte was slated to serve as the starting third baseman for the Reds, mixing in around the infield as manager David Bell rotates days off and DH days for other players. Now that Marte will not be an option, new Red Jeimer Candelario will be the primary steward of the hot corner.

It is more than reasonable to think the Reds knew about an impending suspension of Marte when Candelario signed his deal in back in December. At the time, it was a curious landing spot for Candelario, as it seemed the Reds had a viable solution at all infield slots in which he would likely play.

Even with Spencer Steer moving to the outfield and Jonathan India to a utility role, it still would have been a challenge for Bell to spread playing time evenly among the glut of infielders. With one card off the table, the infield picture becomes clearer.

Final Analysis

As disappointing as the news is, this is far from a season-ender for the Reds. There is still plenty of reason for optimism. Although Marte will not be able to play until mid-season, there are at least 5 Reds currently on the roster who can handle playing third base: Candelario, Steer, India, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Elly De La Cruz. This team has incredible versatility, and hopefully David Bell will be relying on it as he manages all the moving parts. Hopefully, when Marte can return, he provides a boost and not a distraction to a team that should be in the middle of the playoff race.



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