Noelvi Marte’s life changed completely on July 2, 2018. Alberto, her father, and Francia Serrano, her mother, raised their hands to their faces, moved. His son, only 17 years old, signed his first professional contract as a baseball player: 1.5 million dollars with the MLB’s Seattle Mariners. “They told me that I deserved everything that was happening to me, because I worked very hard for it, and that they were proud of me. I remember that we returned to my town and they were waiting for me with a party. It’s a day I’ll never forget.” the Dominican with a Spanish passport, one of the great references of the Selection that, yesterday, stood at the gates of his second World Cup.
At the time of signing, he was considered the 7th most promising international player in Major League Baseball. Now that he will begin a new stage with the Cincinnati Reds, also from the top US division, he is considered one of the 20 most important promises in the competition. An exciting future and a present that, thanks to a last-minute inclusion, during this same month of September, offers its services to a Spain that wants to continue growing. “It was a big surprise. We did not know that she had a Spanish passport. He is one of the most valued young players in America. It is a great luck to be able to count on him”, explains Juan Carlos Cerdá, technical director of the Royal Spanish Baseball and Softball Federation, to AS. An option that Noelvi was also delighted with: “Opportunities that life offers you”, he published on his social networks from Germany, the venue for the qualifying phase.
Marte was born and raised in Cotui (Dominican Republic), an area essentially dedicated to mining. He saw his first professional games in San Francisco de Macorís, at the Julián Javier stadium, where his father took him from an early age. He fell in love with baseball, both its sporting and emotional aspects, something that defines him. “What we see in him is one of those players that excites you and that we believe can make an impact in the Major Leagues,” said Andy McKay, director of player development for the Mariners at the time. At the age of 14, he moved from his modest home in the northwest of the country to the capital, Santo Domingo, to enter the prestigious Raúl Valera academy. “He showed me a lot of potential with his bat and, in addition, he was very intelligent,” he defines him. The scouts were not long in coming and the Mariners, with that large contract, did not hesitate. Spain, when the unexpected opportunity arrived, did not do it either.