#1 – OF Fernando Martinez

fernando-martinez-bmets-headshotBats/Throws: L/R

Height/Weight: 6’1”, 190 lbs

Acquired: NDFA 2005

Born: 10/10/88 (Rio San Juan, DR)

Why Ranked Here: Martinez maintains the top spot on this list by combining just about the best upside in the system with a close proximity to the Major Leagues. I became a believer watching Martinez take BP in the summer of 2008. The ball just exploded off his bat thanks to plus batspeed which generated above average power from left-center on over to rightfield. It was easy for him. Martinez has held his own in centerfield for the last two years in Binghamton, but with Carlos Beltran patrolling center for the Mets, if Martinez is going to make an impact at Citi Field in 2009, it will be on the corners. At this point, Martinez will grow up into a big leaguer, although scouts differ on whether he will be a solid regular or something much better.

2008: Martinez doubled his homerun production from 2007 in Binghamton, moving from four to eight, but he once again battled injuries, missing over a month in May and June. It all seemed to click for Martinez playing winter ball for Escogido in the Dominican Republic. Tellingly, he had the highest walk rate of his career and the best power numbers, homerun rates of his career. It would appear that he took the crucial step of becoming more selective, learning which pitches he can drive.

Dr. Pangloss Says: Martinez gets off to a hot start in Buffalo and forces his way onto the Mets roster where he becomes an important piece of the playoff bound Mets in 2009.

On the Flipside: Martinez has not played more than the 86 games in a season he played in 2008. When he wasn’t playing everyday in 2008 in July, it looked as though Martinez had allowed himself to become a little thick through the middle although he appeared to have slimed down during his time in winter ball.

Projected 2009 Start: AAA Buffalo Bisons