January 11, 2007

Top 10 Prospects: 2. Fernando Martinez

I will be posting on the Mets top 10 prospects through the course of the the next couple of days, so look for them. Over at Baseball America, they take a look at the Mets top 10 prospects:

2.Fernando Martinez, of Born: Oct. 10, 1988; B-T: L-R; Ht: 6-0; Wt: 185
Signed: Dominican Republic, 2005; Signed by: Rafael Bournigal/Sandy Johnson/Eddy Toledo

Background: Martinez received the largest bonus of any international sign in 2005 ($1.4 million) and proved to be a good investment in his debut. Though he missed time with a bone bruise in his hand and a knee sprain, Martinez handled the low Class A South Atlantic League at age 17 and earned a promotion to high Class A. The youngest player in the Arizona Fall League, he recovered from a 1-for-18 start to hit .304 afterward.

Strengths: Martinez has an advanced approach well beyond his years. He has good pitch recognition, strike-zone awareness and power to all fields. He has slightly above-average speed, though he's better underway than down the line or as a basestealer. He has a strong outfield arm.

Weaknesses: Like many young hitters, Martinez tends to overswing when he gets in a funk but should outgrow that as he gets more reps against advanced pitching. He doesn't have a good first step and can take poor routes in center field, which likely means that he'll end up in right field.

The Future: Martinez has the highest ceiling of any hitter in the system and will put himself into the discussion of the best prospects in baseball if he can build on his 2006 season. Even if he has to move from center field, his bat could make him an all-star. He should be back in high Class A to begin 2007.

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