Blue Jays 2019 Top Prospects: #12- Orelvis Martinez
The Blue Jays currently have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, including MLB Pipeline‘s top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and # 11 prospect Bo Bichette and thus many Blue Jays fans have a better understanding and knowledge of players not appearing on the Blue Jays 40-man roster.
A name that may have slipped through the casual fan is 17-year-old shortstop Orelvis Martinez, especially as he is yet to appear in a game with the organization. Signed for $3.5 million this past July out of the Dominican Republic, Martinez was their second most expensive international signing in club history after Vlad Jr., meaning the Blue Jays spent about 70 percent of their international signing pool on Martinez alone.
Many of you may now be wondering just how good he is or why you haven’t heard of him if he received a similar signing bonus to Guerrero. MLB Pipeline’s report on Martinez says he has received comparisons to a young Adrian Beltre as “a hard-hitting infielder with a good projectable body and a strong arm.”
Martinez was rated the fourth international prospect heading into the signing period and left with the highest bonus in his international class.
Martinez’s hitting is rated as a 50/80 by MLB Pipeline, but Martinez has yet to play an inning of pro baseball yet so it will be interesting to see how his skills transfer over. While his defensive game is strong as well, it’s his bat that should be his carrying tool towards the majors. Watching videos of his batting practice it’s easy to notice his effortless swing led by a big leg-kick and some serious bat speed, he also has an easy time putting the barrel on the ball. As you are about to hear, his power starts from his big frame but is carried by the reasons just previously listed, his bat speed and leverage.
His power is produced by a combination of his skills with the bat as well as from his 6-foot-1, 188-pound frame. Martinez just turned 17 this past November so he still has room to grow and the possibility to tap into even more power which is rated a 60 by MLB Pipeline.
With his bat speed, ability to barrel up balls and his present strength, MLB Pipeline says he has the chance to “become an above-average hitter with above-average power once fully developed.” His power is on full display every time he steps into the cage for batting practice and should Martinez make it to the big leagues, it will likely have something to do with his ability to hit the ball really hard and really far.
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Martinez isn’t slow by any means but with his big frame and lots of room to still grow and add strength, his speed could potentially take a hit over the next few years. He’s put up times of 6.8-7.1 in the 60-yard dash which is considered average for MLB standards but would be some solid numbers for a player with his potential power if he could carry that speed with him to the major league level.
While his speed doesn’t hold back his all-around game, his progression in the running game will likely hinder on his development in other areas of the game as well as his physical maturation.
Martinez’s offence and work with his bat is the more projectable part of his game but again, like a young Beltre, his defence is no liability. MLB Pipeline rates his defence as a 55 and his arm as a 55 as well. Seeing as he’s barely 17 and over 6-feet tall, 188-pounds, as he matures and fills out, some scouts believe he will shift over to third base from short. MLB Pipeline says he “has solid actions in the field to go along with body control and an above-average arm.” The scouting report also mentions he has the potential to become an above average defender at either position.
Unlike several of the Blue Jays highest rated prospects, Martinez is just about as far as it gets from reaching the major leagues as he’s yet to make his pro debut. Blue Jays fans should get their first look at the highly regarded Dominican prospect this summer but it should still be a few more years before we truly see what the Blue Jays have in Martinez.
All signs from scouts and projections look positive towards Martinez rounding out into a very intriguing prospect in his late teens but 2019 should give us a better understanding of his development and transition into pro baseball.
While he is much younger than a lot of the Blue Jays top prospects, he is similar in the fact that he plays the infield and like the Blue Jays top two prospects, Guerrero and Bichette, he plays the left side of the infield.
With the MLB’s projection for his arrival coming in 2023, Bichette and Guerrero should likely be manning the left side of the Blue Jays infield by then but Guerrero’s future at third base looks like it may not last and could open up a spot for Martinez.
With several of the Blue Jays top prospects graduating in the next year or two and joining the big league team, Martinez has the chance to establish himself as one of the top young talents in the organization as he gets a few pro seasons under his belt.