ESPN’s Keith Law recently released his Top 100 Prospects list and ranked Mets outfielder Fernando Martinez at number sixteen.
Martinez’s big issue is staying healthy; he has yet to reach 400 plate appearances or play in 100 games during any of his pro seasons, excluding winter ball. This is a shame, because Martinez has a special bat and the injuries plus some aggressive promotions have obscured it. Martinez offers huge power potential, putting on a display in BP, but it has only briefly started to emerge in games. He has very quick and strong wrists, letting the ball travel on him before exploding quickly and making solid, hard contact. In the field, he’s looking more likely to end up in right field; the Mets have one of the game’s best center fielders in the big leagues and don’t need to groom Martinez for that position. His pitch recognition, while good for his age, hasn’t progressed over the last two years, and the more he’s pushed up the system the less likely it is that the skill will develop. Martinez has now played the equivalent of a full season in Double-A before his 20th birthday, and the Mets are faced with the difficult decision of whether to promote him to Triple-A because he has “graduated” from the lower level or return him to the Eastern League for the third consecutive year so he can work on his plate discipline and, maybe, catch his breath.
Keith Law also released his Top MLB Organizations and ranked the Mets farm system at number 17, which is pretty good when you consider what we gave up for Johan Santana and J.J. Putz.
It took a few major trades, but their system finally has thinned. Their international scouting department has saved the system, with three of their top six prospects (Fernando Martinez, Wilmer Flores and Jefry Marte) all coming via that route. Keep an eye on Brad Holt, a potentially fast mover from the 2008 draft whose curve ball is improving.
He ranked the Texas Rangers number one.
Personally, I think the Mets get little credit for their minor league development. I believe that this season, Brad Holt, Dillon Gee, Jefry Marte, Reese Havens and Wilmer Flores will all have major breakthroughs, and that the Mets farm system will be the toast of baseball at this time next year.