Checking in on the progress of Blue Jays prospect Orelvis Martinez

How has the Toronto Blue Jays' top positional prospect fared so far in 2023?
Orelvis Martinez
Orelvis Martinez / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

For Toronto Blue Jays prospect Orelvis Martinez, it has certainly been quite the year so far in his development and progression in the Jays’ minor league system. After struggling with consistency for much of the 2022 season despite displaying loads of power with the Jays’ Double-A affiliate New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Martinez began the 2023 season once again with the Fisher Cats and things definitely did not look well to start.

Martinez’s poor habits in going for the big blast at the expense of good contact hitting led to his atrocious batting average to start the season in April. In total, he had only five hits all month, posting an .089 batting average, .409 OPS, with five runs scored, three home runs, 10 RBI, five walks and 15 strikeouts in 15 games. Surprisingly, when he did connect at the plate, more than half of the time it went for a home run.

In order to become a successful and effective ballplayer in the major leagues, it was crucial for Martinez to dispose of this poor plate approach to start evolving into a more complete hitter. Well, whatever method they tried with him apparently has worked, as he started to turn things around in May by being more selective at the plate, all while still producing some big bombs in the process. In the next 56 games, Martinez batted .269 with a strong .950 OPS, with 29 runs scored, nine doubles, one triple, 14 home runs, 36 RBI, 37 walks and 45 strikeouts, as he appeared to be a totally different player as a result.

In doing so, Martinez earned a well-deserved promotion to Triple-A Buffalo where he has continued to have success at the plate. He might not be pumping out crazy numbers as he had with New Hampshire, but he has produced a respectable .264 batting average, .853 OPS, with 14 runs scored, six doubles, five home runs and 17 RBI in just 23 games played with the Bisons while hitting primarily in the middle part of their lineup.

His rapid improvement this season has helped moved him from the No. 4 spot in the Jays MLB Pipeline Top Prospects list to No. 2 in the recently updated list. More importantly, Martinez has finally cracked the MLB Pipeline Top 100 Prospect Rankings, sitting comfortably at No. 93. He will definitely keep moving on up if he can keep doing things like this.

Martinez will be a key prospect to keep an eye on because with third baseman Matt Chapman approaching free agency at the end of the season, Martinez will represent the Jays’ best internal solution for the replacement of Chapman in the event he does not end up resigning with the ballclub. Martinez may not be able to provide elite-level defence, but with his tremendous power and untapped potential, he could definitely fill the void that would be left by Chapman from an offensive standpoint. From the way it looks in terms of his development and progression so far this year, he certainly looks to be ready by 2024 to finally make his MLB debut with the big boys. And who knows, if he continues to impress in the next couple of weeks, we may even see him sooner than we initially thought with September call-ups right around the corner.