Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Gabriel Martinez Report

Gabby Martinez, 1B, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Drafted 799th Overall (27th Rd), 2001 Draft, HS, Sabana Grande, P.R.
Bats L/Throws R
22 YO, 6'2", 180 lbs

Martinez entered 2005 as Baseball America's 19th ranked prospect in the Rays organization, but he hasn't adapted to AA very well. His bat hasn't translated well at all and he's put up numbers that would be unacceptable for a middle infield prospect, let alone a first baseman. If this continues, he isn't going to even make it to the International League, let alone The Show.

2005 Montgomery: .231/.305/.359, 12 2B, 6 HR, 23 BB, 65 K, 251 AB
2004 Bakersfield: .323/.371/.454, 39 2B, 4 HR, 30 BB, 90 K, 436 AB
mL Career: .296/.356/.431, 89 2B, 17 HR, 102 BB, 245 K, 1147 AB

What do we learn from the above numbers. First we learn that if you don't hit the ball over the fence in the Cal League, you aren't likely to pick up the skill in the Southern League. Secondly, we learn that AA is a lot harder than HiA or the New York-Penn and Appy Leagues, where he put up a combined .315/.373/.451 line in 896 AB.

Martinez is heavily reliant on his ability to hit singles and doubles and those were heavily aided last year by the best hitter's league in the minors. It has been hurt this year by arguably the worst hitter's league in the minors. He takes just enough walks to get by, but not enough to make him an OBP machine. He hits some balls into the gaps, but not enough to compensate for his inability to hit it over the fence. At his best he's a poor man's Kotchman/Aubrey/Casey. At his worst he's weak bat at the wrong end of the defensive spectrum. If he can pull out of this funk, he could POSSIBLY become a decent pinch hitter in the majors and a starter in AAA. I'd like to see if he could play the outfield corners and play some third base from time to time. His bat isn't cut out for a living as a first baseman, so any defensive flexibility he could bring to the party would improve his career chances. He's played some third in the past and his athleticism earns high marks for a first baseman, so it isn't out of the question.

ETA: 2007
1 1/2 Stars

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