Marte, a 16-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic, is considered one of the top international prospects.
With the opening of the international signing period for Major League Baseball beginning on Monday morning, the Mariners moved quickly and announced the signing of nine players to free agent contracts later that afternoon.
- José Aquino, LHP, Dominican Republic
- Asdrúbal Bueno, INF, Venezuela (video)
- Luis Chevalier, INF, Dominican Republic
- Jonathan Clase, OF, Dominican Republic
- Carlos Fernández, INF, Panama (video)
- Noelvi Marte, INF, Dominican Republic
- Adbiel Medina, RHP, Panama
- Gabe Moncada, 1B/OF, Venezuela (video)
- Wilton Pérez, RHP, Dominican Republic
“We’re very excited about the versatility of this group,” said Tim Kissner, the Mariners director of international scouting. “It’s a well-balanced class of pitchers and position players who all possess the athleticism and the character to progress through our minor league system. Each of the nine players we signed today has the skills and the makeup to make an impact in our organization over the next several years.”
The most important signing of the group was infielder Noelvi Marte out of the Dominican Republic. The 16-year-0ld shortstop is listed at 6-1, 181 pounds and a right-handed hitter. Some scouts believe he’ll continue to grow, which could force him to move to third base eventually.
“Our scouts identified Noelvi Marte as a player with impact speed and power,” Kissner said. “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.”
Marte was rated the No. 4 international prospect in the class by Baseball American and No. 7 by MLB.com. Both services tout Marte’s power, saying he has the potential to be a 25-30 homer player at the big league level.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported that Marte received a 1.55 million signing bonus. The Mariners have an overall bonus pool of $4,983,500 per MLB rules.
From the Baseball America scouting report …
“Marte has a strong track record of hitting, getting on base and hitting for power in games. He has a smooth swing with good rhythm, loading with an aggressive leg kick along the lines of Jose Bautista last summer, though he has since toned that down, using his whole body to generate power. Marte has a fluid, easy stroke that’s compact and geared to get the ball elevated, although he can get pull-happy at times. Last summer, he also showed explosive bat speed and above-average raw power, but he hasn’t looked as electric in subsequent showings. Marte is a good athlete with plus speed underway, although given his body type, scouts aren’t sure how much of his speed he will retain. Marte has a strong arm and should get a chance to start his career at shortstop, but he will need to improve his hands and footwork, leading many scouts to believe he fits best at third base.”
From the MLB.com scouting report:
One of the top prospects on the market, Marte is known for his power bat but he also has shown good mechanics at the plate, where he creates a lot of backspin and loft at contact. There’s a belief he could hit .270 with 25-30 home runs in the big leagues one day. He is currently a shortstop and has a good feel for the position, but the teen could shift to third base as he grows. Scouts like his hands and athleticism.
None of the other eight signings are rated in Baseball America’s Top 50 international prospects or MLB.com’s Top 30 international prospects for this class. The international signing period runs from July 2 through June 15 of 2019. The player must be either 17 at the time of the signing or will turn 17 by the end of his first professional contract.