For those of you who aren’t familiar with this name, Martinez is a 20 year old international free agent Cuban outfielder. MLB
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Pipeline ranks Martinez at number 4 on their international prospects but has the upside to be the best player of the lot. If you want to find out a bit more about Martinez, click
Martinez is listed at 6’2 and 195 pounds and has impressed scouts with his powerful and athletic frame. Martinez is rated as a plus runner by scouts, grading out at 70 on the 20-80 scale. He also has an impressive arm which, when paired with good baseball instincts means he could potentially make it as a major league center fielder.
However, Martinez is far from a glove only type player. In fact, the Cuban has drawn favourable comparisons to former star Andruw Jones. You can see in the video in the link above, Martinez possesses a short, compact swing which generates effortless power to all fields. Scouts also praise the outfielder on his ability to control the strike zone. His plus speed and instincts mean he could develop into a serious base stealing threat.
When you put all of this together, you get a young outfielder who could develop into a plus center fielder, hit .280 or better, with 20+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases. If you’re not interested, well…. I don’t know, you should be.
The best part of all this is he’s not going to cost anymore than spare change – especially by international standards. After a reported $2.5M deal with the Giants fell through yesterday, Jesse Sanchez reports that Martinez’ camp is seeking a bonus closer to $3M, down significantly from their prior demands of $10M. When compared to Hector Olivera‘s $60M and Alex Guerrero‘s $28M, Martinez’ demands are relatively nothing. Gaining this type of talent at this price could turn out to be a genuine bargain. Also of note, despite a major overhaul in the international scouting department, the Dodgers have already signed the number 1 and 7 international prospects (Yadier Alvarez and Starling Heredia respectively).
At this point you’re probably wondering why I say need in the headline. No it’s not because we need another outfielder although I’ll address this issue shortly, but simply the Dodgers have already exceeded their international allowance. This means for the next 2 years, the Dodgers will be unable to sign any international amateur free agent for more than $300,000, which doesn’t get you a lot in this market. Similarly, a by product of the Dodgers on-field success is that they will consistently pick at the back end of the draft for the next few seasons (pick no. 25 this year). When you account for these two factors it becomes clear that for the next two years at least it will be difficult to inject high end talent into the farm system. As the Royals, Mets, Cubs, Cardinals, Pirates and Astros have shown, building winners from within the organisation is paramount to any form of sustainable success.
Now I said I would address the outfield situation. It is true that it is currently, a very crowded situation. However, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Justin Ruggiano are eligible for free agency after the 2017 season. Meanwhile Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson are under team control through 2020 and 2021 respectively. Conveniently, Martinez is projected to be ready major league ready at some point in the 2017 season, perhaps 2018 depending on how he develops. If all three of these outfielders (Pederson, Puig, Martinez) reach their potential, the Dodgers outfield between 2018 and 2021 could conceivably be the best in baseball… and cheap. Puig will still be on his team friendly deal, Pederson going through arbitration and Martinez on the league minimum.
The Dodgers need to capitalise on the international market while they can and Martinez looks like the perfect fit.