Toronto Blue Jays 2023 Season Preview: INF Orelvis Martinez
Next up in our 2023 Toronto Blue Jays season preview series is prospect infielder Orelvis Martinez.
Addison Barger, Anthony Bass, Chris Bassitt, Brandon Belt, José Berríos, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Matt Chapman, Adam Cimber, Hagen Danner, Santiago Espinal, Matt Gage, Yimi García, Kevin Gausman, Chad Green, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Thomas Hatch, Spencer Horwitz, Danny Jansen, Leo Jimenez, Kevin Kiermaier, Yusei Kikuchi, Alejandro Kirk, Otto Lopez, Nathan Lukes, Alek Manoah
Here's a quick refresher on the projection systems we will be taking into account and what they're saying about Martinez for the upcoming campaign.
ZiPS: 500 PA, 100 H, 24 HR, 85 RBI, .218/.280/.426, 100 wRC+
2022 stats (Double-A): 492 PA, 88 H, 30 HR, 76 RBI, .203/.286/.446, 96 wRC+
*Editor's note: ZiPS projections include minor and major league innings but the performance estimates are all major-league level.
At just 21-years-old, Martinez is the Blue Jays' second-ranked prospect. He missed being added to MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospect list this offseason but did land in the 67th spot on ESPN's Top 100.
Last season, as a 20-year-old, Martinez burst onto the scene as a legitimate power bat during Spring Training and continued slugging all season in Double-A.
He set a New Hampshire Fisher Cats franchise mark with 28 home runs and finished the season with 30 round-trippers in 118 games.
ZiPS projects another powerful season at the plate, with Martinez likely starting in Triple-A.
This will be an excellent test to see how he handles more advanced pitching in an extended sample size. While there's no question about his raw and game-ready power, there are question marks about his plate skills and discipline.
Martinez has a predictable batted-ball profile for a young power-hitter. Last season, he had a 51% fly ball rate and a 50.7% pull rate.
His MLB.com scouting report elaborates, "With a quick right-handed swing and promising strength from a 6-foot-1 frame, Martinez can really turn on balls and drive them at fast exit velocities and to far distances."
He also strikes out a lot, at a high 28.5% clip, and collected 140 strikeouts last season.
The young infielder split time between third base and shortstop last season, but according to his scouting report, he's likely destined for a job at the hot corner.
With Bo Bichette blocking his ascent to the majors at short, there may be an opening at third after the 2023 season. If, for some reason, the Jays don't re-sign Matt Chapman when his contract runs out and Martinez proves that he can handle the bat at Triple-A, he could slot in as the next third baseman in Toronto.
If he continues developing at his current trajectory, he could provide a similar profile to Chapman at the plate — a slugging corner infielder who hits plenty of home runs but racks up strikeouts along the way. The defensive side of the ball is where he may not be able to match the slick-fielding Chapman.
Keeping in mind that Martinez is still young for the levels he's played at, there's plenty of time for growth and development before he reaches the majors.