#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


There are 17 comments

  1. stickguy

    I actualy look at him as having played 120+ games with 550 abs in 2008, counting the DWL as an extension of the season.

    Toby, where would the level of the DWL compitiiton slot? AA? AAA? Seems like AAA might be logical, since the overall talent level isn’t up to ML standards, but there are a lot of older players in the league.

    Anyway, the talent issue didn’t seem to be his question, more that he just needed to get some serious PT. And when he did, the results came.

    Hopefully the elbow isssue is a non factor. Another eye-opening spring (like last year) followed by a strong AAA start (and knock wood, no injuries!) could make things interesting.

    It would be nice to let him have a full year to dominate AAA, with a sept. call up and the FT LF job in 2010. of course it should be becasue the other OFs stay healthy on the run to the playoffs and they don’t need him!

  2. Gina

    His DWL numbers are encouraging but unless he shows a lot more in the minors I have serious doubts about him being ready this year. Or even early next year.

    1. stickguy

      Doesn’t it go without saying for any prospect that they won’t be ready until they show something in the minors?

      to flip it around, do you agree that once he “clicks” and starts putting up the numbers in AAA, he could be ready quickly?

      that is, he isn’t one of the prospects that should need years of “seasoning”?

      But yes, it is impossible at this point to pick a time of arrival. But don’t discount the possibility that the Mets decide at some point that he wil learn by doing just as well in the majors.

      1. Gina

        It depends what you mean by quickly. I wouldn’t think 2-3 months of putting up numbers in AAA would be enough, especially given his struggles with health. I’d want to see at least a 300ish sample size of it.

      2. Gina

        300ish plate appearances I mean. Not to mention it depends on what kind of numbers you mean. I’d want to see an improved walk rate and lowered k rate at least, not just him hitting.

  3. mrmustseetv

    I totally agree with Martinez as the #1 pick. He’s played against tougher competition, while being one of the youngest players in AA and winter ball. Still, he HAS to stay healthy and he HAS to continue to show the progress he showed in the DWL. Martinez is 20, so no more using the “but he’s the youngest player in the league” to caveat his average numbers. The talent is there and he started showing signs of putting it together, so it’s encouraging. I still think Martinez would have been better served by being brought up slower than he was (i.e., rushed to AA in 2007).

    Defensively, he’s okay in center, but he’ll move to a corner spot due to Beltran’s presense. His arm is just good enough to play in right, although his overall tools play better in left.

    Offensively, he has power. He needs to continue to be selective and learn to work counts in his favor. Once he masters this and learns to stay healthy, the sky’s the limit.

    I may be overly optimistic, but, if he stays healthy, I think Martinez can be a .280, 25+ type of hitter that fits nicely in the #5 spot in a lineup.

    Long-term, the Mets have some decisions to make between Nick Evans, Martinez and Daniel Murphy. I think Evans is the odd man out, as I see the Mets moving Murphy to first base in 2010 to replace Delgado (thus, taking advantage of the fact Murphy was brought as an infielder) and then place Martinez in left field.

    Personnaly, I’d love for the Mets to do the following in 2010:

    1. Sign Matt Holliday and play him in left and bat him fith in the lineup.
    2. Move Murphy to first base and hope he develops into a Kevin Youklis-type player.
    3. Play Martinez in right.
    4. If need be, trade Ryan Church to addres other big-league weaknesses.

    Great job on this series, Toby. Quick idea – for the MLB draft we should have a mock draft, where you analyze who the Mets picked and who you would have picked instead. You could do that for the first 10 rounds only since doing the entire draft is tedious, and the fans could chime in as to who they would have picked. It would be a nice way to spark some more debate over the summer.

    1. Smokey

      You definitely know your stuff, so it surprises me to hear that you would want Holliday in CitiField. I think this year in Oakland will be telling: he lacks world-class bat speed, which mattered less at the higher altitude. His home/road splits were atrocious. His defense is, to put it lightly, unremarkable. IMO there will be better ways for the Mets to spend their money.

      Toby, awesome job on this series. You’re still the man.

      1. Meddler

        I do agree that Holliday should be watched closely, but I think the pessimism is a bit beyond what it should be. I know its easy to look at the Home/Road splits of a player from Colorado and say “look, they’re only good in Coors!” but there’s more to it than that. I can’t remember who it was, but I remember reading an article a while back from one of the ESPN guys (I think it was Neyer but it Might have been Olney) about the “hangover” effect from Coors. This is something that’s been well documented with visiting players coming to Coors, tearing the cover off the ball, then leaving and hitting a slump. What the article found was that this is true of Rockies hitters too. Breaking balls just don’t break at Coors, so when the Rockies go on the road, they have to re-adjust their approach. What resulted was that for each day Holliday spent on the road, you saw a substantial increase in his batting stats. He’d have something like a .750 OPS on the first day of road trips, .770 on the second day, and it actually got higher and higher with each successive day until it got into the .900 you generally expect from Holliday.

        I couldn’t find the ESPN article, but here’s one from Beyond the Box Score that explains it pretty well:


        With that in mind, McAfee is just about the WORST ballpark a hitter like Holliday could move to short of Petco. Most big parks that are tough to hit homers in do have some advantages. Look at places like Dolphin Stadium, Miller Park, or Safeco. All three are rough on home run hitters, but they inflate triples drastically. Kaufman Stadium, Progressive Field, Fenway, and PNC all deflated homers significantly, but they all also inflated doubles. McAfee is one of the few parks that deflates offense from all angles. HR, triples, and doubles are all deflated. Only a handful of ballparks do this (McAfee, Petco, Dodger Stadium, Metrodome, and Angel Stadium), and for a guy who relies on doubles as much as homers like Holliday, there really isn’t a silver lining.

    2. NateW

      .280 25+ doesn’t really tell much though. With his low walk rate and k/bb rate he could put up those numbers while going .310/.440/.750 and it would be very useful as a LF.

      I don’t think the Mets or most teams see Nick Evans as an everyday player. If they did he wouldn’y be in the bench discussion, and definitely be marked for AAA playing 1B or LF everyday. If the Mets go into 2010 with Murphy, Church and Martinez as everyday players then there should be plenty of playing time for Evans as a bench 1B/LF and PH.

  4. Big Asian Mets Fan

    Nice work, Toby!!
    Martinez needs to prove himself that hes #1, and prove that he could hit home runs and run bases. Past two years, he was in injury plague and etc. He needs to prove to the organization that he could reach to his potential and be that ‘dominate” guy. I love watching him play, but he should be careful. I don’t want him to be a “bust”.

    1. theperfectgame

      Barring a catastrophic injury, he’s years away from being considered a bust. Patience, people. Right now, he just needs to prove that he can stay healthy.

  5. theperfectgame

    “Martinez is 20, so no more using the “but he’s the youngest player in the league” to caveat his average numbers.”

    Seems kind of arbitrary to say that since he’s 20, the fact that he’s still the youngest player in the league gives no perspective to his stats.

    1. adropofvenom

      Seriously, if Martinez is in AAA this year, he’ll still likely be the youngest player in the league, if not one of the youngest. I don’t want to use that as an excuse or anything, but that is a fact.

  6. Willie Randolphs

    Great work Toby ! it was a great run , i was hoping to see some videos of the prospects( at least the top 5) but it was great.

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