On March 8th the Cincinnati Reds found out that Noelvi Marte had been suspended for 80 games after he tested positive for boldenone. Today that suspension has ended. The Reds went 37-43 in his absence.

With Marte being activated the club added him to the active roster and optioned Livan Soto back to Triple-A Louisville. Marte needed a spot on the 40-man roster, so Cincinnati moved Emilio Pagan to the 60-day injured list.

Earlier this month, as allowed by the rules, Noelvi Marte was allowed to go on a “rehab” assignment in the minor leagues. That’s allowed so that players can, in theory at least, be ready to join the big league club the day their suspension is up rather than serve the suspension and then have to try and get ready on the fly.

The Reds sent Marte to Triple-A Louisville from the start of his rehab assignment. In hindsight maybe that wasn’t the best idea. He played in 12 games and went 8-53 with a double, no walks, and he struck out 15 times. All of that added up to a .151 batting average, a .151 on-base percentage, and a .170 slugging percentage. He also made three errors in his 10 games in the field. To say it was a struggle would get you accused of being too generous.

His average exit velocity was just 86.6 MPH. Eliminating the bottom 50% of his batted ball velocities, also known as EV50 at Baseball Savant or Best Speed (which can be confusing since it sounds like it’s a metric about one’s running) in other places, that bumps up to 99.0. To put that in context, Giancarlo Stanton’s EV50 this season is 108.1 and leads baseball. There have been 389 players have 50 batted balls in MLB this season. A 99.0 EV50 would rank 226th, just behind Jonathan India and slightly ahead of Stuart Fairchild. He was also hitting the ball on the ground a ton – 58% to be exact – which would be the highest in MLB among 146 qualified hitters.

For Marte, the sample size is small. And he’s basically stepping into his own version of spring training. But he’s also stepping in against players who are in midseason form, even though they are also guys in Triple-A. Unlike spring training he’s not going to get at-bats against guys who are going to be in Single-A in a few weeks, or face guys who are out there to throw 20 straight fastballs to try and get that pitch where they want it. In some ways, it’s like a spring training, but in other ways it’s absolutely nothing like it.

It’s clear that Marte was not quite up to speed when his rehab assignment came to an end. How quickly he can get there is important, though. While Cincinnati is still in the playoff race because in 2024 you don’t have to try to be good, you just have to avoid being absolutely terrible if you want to “be in contention”, the Reds have the 4th worst record in the National League and are 4.5 games back of the final wild card spot.

Livan Soto is heading back to the minor leagues. His call up was brief and he only managed to play in one game, going 0-3 as the designated hitter on Wednesday against Pittsburgh.

Emilio Pagan moved from the 15-day injured list to the 60-day injured list. He last pitched on June 8th and has not yet begun to throw again as he deals with a lat injury. The earliest he will be able to return to the mound in the big leagues will be August 8th now that he has to miss at least 60 days.

31 Responses

    • Melvin

      I don’t believe it’s helping Benson or the Reds to leave him up on the 26 man roster. Now they’re taking a .300 hitter in the minors, who could possibly help given and opportunity to play, and sending him down which means he can’t possibly help for 15 days unless there is an injury. Aw the winning ways of the Reds. smh

      • Kevin H

        Makes no since to me, however I dunno after watching the games this year and the Reds moves in years past I am not surprised.

        I mean why not rush a guy who hadn’t seen live pitching to my knowledge and put him in triple A, and now MLB to help? While Soto as mentioned a 300 hitter who if given the chance could of helped? We will never know and enough of me. LOL

  1. LDS

    Might be a bit aggressive to bring up Marte already. Wonder if Candelario is injured. And Pagan? Still not sure why Krall signed him. Bad fit for GABP.

    • Mauired

      For 2 million more, they could have signed a hall of famer that can close and throws 100. But instead they paid Pagan 8 million this year and next, so he can give up homers in the middle of the game and spend half the year on IL.

  2. Kevin H

    No Fraley or Candelario in the lineup today.

    • Melvin

      ….but we got Benson. What more can you ask? hahaha We had a guy come up (Jordan) who’s having a good year and had a good game his first game up and then play him sporadically at best in favor of Benson. Makes perfect sense. What could possibly go wrong? I’m sure Jordan will stay hot sitting on the bench. Gotta get Besnon going. We’re at he half way point of the season. Kinda makes me sick the way this organization shoots themselves in the foot to keep from winning. Ridiculous.

      • Kevin H

        This season I think I have ran out of patience more so than last few years. Hype, Expectations or both? Yes we all know about the injuries so I won’t go there, however no moves to replace a Mclain, or Marte. Even a solid right handed hitter off the bench.

        As you mentioned we got Benson lol.

  3. Jim Walker

    No pain here for anyone except perhaps Soto as they kicked the can down the road on the 40 man move with Pagan to the 60 day IL.

    I am skeptical about how they expect Marte to play his way into top game shape at MLB when he wasn’t even up to AAA speed yet.

    • Jason Franklin

      Mayb Krall, without letting it out, has given up on his team too. Why not just have him get the at-bats up here even if it costs the team?

  4. Jason Franklin

    With Benson having 2 options left, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense the team is keeping him up here. The question though is this: Who would you bring up that would be an imrpovement on is on the 40? Burdick? He is a righthanded batter who strikes out half the time. Hinds? He is a righthanded batter who strikes out half the time? Dunn? He is a righthanded batter who strikes out a third of the time and is injured? Unless they take a early gamble on a AA or lower bat, then the only real improvement is probably via trade/waiver. Pretty sad outfield issues for the Reds up here and down in the minors.

    • Melvin

      You could leave Soto up and send Benson down. The chances of Soto helping even a little bit are greater than Benson helping at all.

      • Jason Franklin

        I have this strange feeling that unless you have some power in your bat at a consistent rate, than the FO really doesn’t give you a lot of chances. Soto is more of a singles kind of guy (which the team could use!), so they probably don’t see him as much a future. They even seem to not care about strikeouts as long as you can hit homers/exit velo.

  5. west larry

    So Marte is in the starting line up. Hope he does well. I don’t understand why Benson wasn’t sent down. I guess the f. o knows things.

    • Jim Walker

      If they send Benson down, they completely devalue him as a possible trade piece. If he gets on one of his runs, he not only could help the Reds, but he could also lower the prospect capital it might take to close a big deal that would displace him from the starting lineup anyway.

      Or at least that is an alternative way to look at things.

      Also, keep an eye out if Fairchild becomes an everyday guy in this most recent Friedl absence. He has had some very good 2-3 week runs in the past. A run like that now could make him more attractive to a team strong on offense but a bit short on OF defense which seeks to to fill out its roster for an anticipated deep playoff run.

      • Melvin

        In the mean time our chances of losing increase.

  6. Jeremiah

    Espinal is DHing? Must be some injuries going on.

    Marte up and starting seems desperate from the Reds. For one it seems hed benefit from some more time getting his feet under him but also I thought they’d leave him in the minors for at least a week or two weeks to kind of send a little message of their own aside from the MLB suspension to think twice and be more careful regarding the banned substances. Just really surprised at this move by the Reds and a little disappointed in them organizationally just putting Marte right back in after the 80 games.

    • Melvin

      If they send Marte to AAA it’s just like sending another player and he has to stay there 15 days unless there is an injury. May or may not be a good thing but that’s the way I understand it.

  7. MBS

    Desperate times call for desperate mesures. This team needs a spark, I just don’t think Marte is ready to ignite a flame.

    • Jeremiah

      Yeah it kind if puts pressure on him too
      Plus he’s going to be dealing with some of the boos and negativity test comes with coming off a suspension. Will see how he handles everything. He was my favorite hitter of all the young guys they had before the suspension.

  8. Mike W

    Fellow fans, we have to be honest with each other. Neither the FO nor the manager has known what they’re doing over the last 5+ years to make the playoffs. You all know I’ve complained about Bell the last 3+ years, but instead of replacing him, they extend his contract. I joined the huge “Sell the Team Bob” consortium a year ago, bought the shirt, but did not fund any of the billboards throughout Cincinnati. Bell needs to put in 9 players and let them play. He needs to set up a 2024 version of eh Nasty Boys and bring them in each time we are tied or ahead after 6. And he needs to SHOW his support for his players. For instance, when India was called out at home a couple of games ago and popped up and gestured to his Skipper “Challenge! Challenge!” Bell needs to do so, even if for no other reason than to show he supports his players. He’s managed so many games and players, but still doesn’t get how to manage men. If they’re keeping Bell in place, here’s hoping for a miracle second half. Maybe win the remaining series against the Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs and Pirates!

    • Melvin

      “Fellow fans, we have to be honest with each other. Neither the FO nor the manager has known what they’re doing over the last 5+ years to make the playoffs.”

      HARD to argue with that.

  9. Roger Garrett

    Desperate move IMO by just an awful major league organization.Its almost like they huddle and pick the most illogical idea that comes from the huddle.Hey lets bring Marte up now and lets send Soto down and move Jordan to coffee and doughnut duty.Ok break but wait do we think Marte is ready for big league pitching.Two second pause and well who cares if he isn’t? Another 2 second yeah right and they break again.Reds brain trust at work.Dumb dumber and dumbest.My grandson would do a better job.

  10. Roger Garrett

    Ok and just for fun lets but Espy at DH and Marte who hasn’t hit a lick at third so he can’t only focus on hitting.That ought to work.GO REDS

    • Mauired

      A glove 1st player at DH. Glove only this entire season.

      David Bell has sunk to a new low as a manager.

  11. Mike W

    Elly on 3B with none out in the first and we leave him there.
    Our announcers say that Goldschmidt is “the worst off speed hitter in the NL.” Not the second worst, or pretty bad, the worst. So why is Abbott throwing him fastballs (one of which stayed in thanks top Fairchild’s great leap)?
    Where is the managing? Oh yeah, it’s nothing there.

  12. jmb

    The Reds DESPERATELY need Marte. But they should move EDLC to right and keep Soto to play short.

  13. Esteban

    At first I thought Jacob Hurt was going to be the guy to replace Benson. I thought Hurt had some good at bat in the beginning. At first it looked like he new how to work a count, but that faded. Became more of a slap hitter.