The Blue Jays welcome in 2023, starting the countdown to pitchers and catchers report, and Spring Training. With the recent roster moves, and a boiling farm system, it is time to get excited as we move closer and closer to the spring. Unfortunately, Gabriel Moreno won’t be in a Blue Jays uniform this season, but there’s a lot more to look forward too, regarding the grassroots.
As the international prospects signing period opens up, how can you not relate to Orelvis Martinez, a huge successful international signee. He is one of many hot topic prospects shaping up to fill the hype of a Moreno-type prodigy. Martinez is the No. 2 ranked player on the Blue Jays top 30 prospect list per MLB.com and is expected to make his big league debut at some point in 2023.
There was a lot of mid-season rage pertaining to Martinez’s shift in Baseball America ranking, and his 29.1% strikeout rate. This does not bother me, nor does it affect a solid evaluation for this player. We can expect to have Martinez on Rogers Center turf in 2023; so what can we expect to see?
I watched this kid’s showcase in the Dominican Republic, prior to his 2018 international free agent signing; all the tools were there. What stuck out was his above-average arm and his evident raw power at the plate. Fast forward four years, these tools were sharpened and play a role in his quick advanced through the Blue Jays ranks.
Orelvis is 6’1”, 200lbs, and does it all from the right side. Now at 21-years-old, he has filled out into his body, with a strong athletic and mature structure, compared to his raw makeup at 17-years of age. Let’s start with the offense; Martinez can swing it! He carries a ton of power, grading a 60 on the 20-80 grade scale.
His swing from the right side is quick, getting the barrel to the ball at all locations of the zone, generating solid contact across the field. His bat path is guided well, and he’s able to cover the outside portion of the plate, while still being able to turn on the inside strike. Martinez will crowd the plate, forcing his pitch, and showing a ton of aggression in counts. He will swing; he is not afraid to bite on the first pitch, and won’t give you room to establish a first pitch strike. His approach will foul off a ton of offerings to be able to get his pitch; he’s also very good with understanding the zone. Martinez uses the entire field, primarily staying up the middle, and muscling pull-side on fastballs that he takes advantage of.
His aggressiveness is great and risky at the same time. It seems he goes fishing a ton, chasing the breaking pitches out of the zone. Critics have an issue with his strikeout percentage and on-base percentage, which results from not walking very often. In 2022, he struck out 140 times, only walking 40 times. On the flip side, Martinez made use of his 433 at-bats in Double-A New Hampshire, with 88 hits, 30 homeruns, and 76 RBI. In three diverse seasons of professional ball, he’s recorded 230 hits, 65 homeruns, 195 RBI on a .237 batting average and .320 on-base percentage.
Overall, Martinez seems to be ready for the big call. As long as he walks more, it’ll balance out the strikeout percentage, and improve on-base percentage. This may have to align with configuring an approach to the breaking ball.
The Blue Jays have a gem here with tons of potential and benefit to the 40-man roster. We can expect to see him in the show as early as late May, early June. Let’s see what Orelvis’ spring looks like!