J.D. Martinez Scouting Report (2010)
South Atlantic League MVP J.D. Martinez crushed to the tune of .362/.433/.598 in just 88 games before being promoted to the Texas League. And while this moved him from 20th round afterthought to sleeper worth mentioning, Martinez’ play in double-A is what has truly sparked the prospect conversation about the young outfielder. With a .302/.357/.407 line against age appropriate competition, his 50-game sample has earned some legitimate prospect
Physical Projection: Martinez being listed at 6’3″, 175 lbs. is a head scratcher. He appears to be at least 200 lbs. and is fully developed from a physical standpoint. And while he is mostly lean muscle, his athleticism is “fringe” at best and will only degrade further with age as he already runs like a much older player.
Offense: In reviewing Martinez’ batting practice swings versus those in live at bats, I noticed differences which force me to question his ultimate power potential. Martinez has a flat swing plane and drifts onto his front foot in game action. While I personally did not have the size or hitting ability of Martinez, my approach was similar in college and it definitely limited power against all but pitchers except those I was significantly better than.
I think Martinez experienced quite a bit of this as a 22-year old playing against younger, less advanced competition. At higher levels, he may begin cheating a little more which will take a bite out of his power numbers. Like a scout I spoke to this season said, “unless you are Frank Thomas, I don’t want to see you hitting off of your front foot.”
In batting practice, Martinez stays back well and keeps his hands inside the ball better than most hitters I’ve seen. I always love seeing the bat knob pulled right to the hip which allows for strong wrist snap. However, I wonder if the pause in the back of his load limits his power at all as he hit many line drives in batting practice, but few with real authority. In most cases, one wants to see more fluidity built into the timing mechanism. Of course most, if not all prospects have much cleaner swings in batting practice, but Martinez’ offensive upside really grows if his in game approach merges more with what is evident in batting practice.
Defense: Martinez needing to be hidden on defense is more of an accepted fact rather than speculation at this point. I included him at number four in my and have read a move to left field is eminent. In game action, he simply does not move well and nothing in his defensive game stood out as particularly positive. Martinez is simply a bat first prospect who will have to hit quite a bit to succeed.
Speed: I was able to pull a solid 30 on the 20/80 scale off of video leaving him a below average runner. If anything, Martinez will continue to slow down over time leaving him a player who will clog the basepaths.
While this report may seem pretty scathing, it’s important to remember Martinez is a 20th round college player from the 2009 draft who is already productive offensively in double-A. Since being drafted, his professional line sits at .340+/.400+/.550+ in just over 800 professional at bats. For an organization known for drafting talent with disastrous results, J.D. Martinez is a tremendous find. Even if he becomes merely a bench player at the big league level who can pinch hit and chip in a little as a first base/left fielder, he becomes an asset at the major league minimum when veteran players with similar skill sets earn 3-4 times as much in annual salary.
23 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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