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Rays Top 50 Prospects: No. 28, Jelfry Marte

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MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Signed, voided, and signed again, this very young prospect has already been on a roller-coaster ride in his professional career. We are excited to see what he has to offer after the Rays took a leap of faith and aggressively signed this prospect just before the New Year.

No.28, SS Jelfry Marte, 16 years old

Born: Mar 27th, 2001 in La Vega, DR

Height/Weight: 5’11” 170 lbs Bats/Throws: S/R

Signed: by the Twins July 2nd, but they voided the $3 million contract due to an issue the team discovered during his physical (eye issue). Wound up being signed by the Rays for $820,000 plus $200,000 added for College purposes (noted by Jesse Sanchez in Rays Radio linked below).

Twitter handle: NA [Editor’s note: is he even REAL without Twitter???]

Twitter profile statement: NA

Baseball America Rankings

  • Ranked as the 13th best international prospect of the 2017 class

*Did not make top 30 list from MLB Pipeline

DRB Writers ranking

  • High: 20th
  • Low: 39th

Jelfry Marte: Abilities

  • Plus runner.
  • Defensive abilities stand out.
  • Strong arm and smooth actions.
  • Hits well from both sides of the plate.
  • Expectations are he will hit for some power as he gets older.

Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 35 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60

  • Abilities notes: It was determined prior to his signing Marte had an unspecified problem with his vision (more on this below). It’s still unclear how serious an issue his vision is and whether or not it’ll impact his hitting in particular. For now, we’ll assume the Rays did their due diligence and are comfortable with the situation.

Joined the Rays by way of....

Trade and sign — as noted in the tweet below:

Misiewicz had come to the Rays along with infielder Luis Rengifo and a PTBNL in return for catcher Mike Marjama and right handed pitcher Ryan Garton, so he was returning to the team that drafted him in 2015.

In the end, the Rays got it done.

On signing Marte despite vision issues or worries, here’s what Rays international scouting directorCarlos Rodriguez had to say by email,

“Ultimately it came down to the talent, the makeup, and the comprehensive history with the player to know and understand what he’s been able to physically do and accomplish and how that will serve him going forward,’’ “We were pretty thorough examining the vision issue, and we just felt that we are very well positioned to give him every chance to realize his potential, which is very high.’’

You can hear more about the signing from Jesse Sanchez here:

Latest Transaction: Signed with Rays December 12th, 2017.

Note - What’s interesting here is how the Rays were able — and willing — to sign Marte despite the vision issue and jumped onto an opportunity other MLB teams weren’t willing to grab.

Facts, Honors, and Awards

Stats

N/A

Interesting Comparison: Freddy Galvis

Let’s be honest here, there’s not much to go on in order to get a comparable to Marte. But, I’ve done my best to find a match and think this applies on some levels.

Both stand 5’10” and both are switch-hitters who throw right-handed. What currently stands out for Marte, and always has for Galvis, is the combination of a strong arm and smooth defensive abilities.

Questions about the bat existed with Galvis for a long time before he turned things up a notch from 2015 to 2017. Marte’s ceiling and abilities may differ some on that end, but until we have something to go with it’s possible that it takes him a while to figure things out as well.

The important part here is that despite producing less with the bat than other SS in MLB, Galvis remains a 1 to 2 WAR player because of his defensive abilities. If Marte can build his game on that side as well as expected, his floor will be very high.

Notes for 2018 and beyond

The road for an international prospect is always a long one and sometimes you can tell a lot about how an organization feels about them based on how quickly they move onto US soil. That’s an interesting part of the Marte acquisition, because he’s been signed by the same organization that signed Wander Franco — also a prominent and highly sought after shortstop.

So where do these two outstanding prospects begin their pro careers? It’s easy to imagine both beginning their journeys in the Gulf Coast League and on the same team, but then that causes an issue in terms of position. Do they share time there and at third base? Or, does one — or both — begin in the Dominican Summer League?

Tough to tell really. Jesus Sanchez, for example, began his career in the DSL for one season while on the opposite side Adrian Rondon began his career in the GCL. Marte will be 17 when the season begins, and Rondon started in the GCL when he was 16. That doesn’t guarantee anything, but if his defensive abilities are already strong enough, the Rays may feel comfortable with having him begin his career in the GCL.

I have to admit that being able to measure one against the other by having Marte and Franco play on the same team is very intriguing. Competing together — and with one another — could also help them achieve their goals and could build a friendship that lasts right up through the ranks.

Regardless of where he begins his pro career, Marte will face stiff competition throughout the Rays organization. Just ahead of him will be Carlos Vargas, Zach Rutherford, and Taylor Walls. Beyond them Luis Rengifo, Jermaine Palacios, and Lucius Fox. And all of this below the Double-A level.

Needless to say that nothing will be handed to him as he forges his way ahead. He’ll earn ever opportunity he gets and will need to be strong on both sides to earn the starting shortstop role for the Rays.

Jelfry Marte: Spotlight Videos

Recap and links of previously listed DRB Top 50 Rays Prospects