Fernando Martinez – Early Warning Signs?

An article by posted on June 3, 2009

Ryan Church is currently playing at Port St. Lucie with fellow detainee Jose Reyes.

While Reyes is expected be activated on Friday, Church should be making his return on Sunday.

The question as to who gets cut from the 25-man roster is an easy one when Reyes returns, but what happens when Church returns?

Is it the end of the line for F-Mart?

Adam Rubin asks that same question on his blog this morning,

Could Fernando Martinez (pictured right) stick around when Ryan Church is activated from the disabled list as soon as Sunday? After initially being discounted, it’s at least now on the table for discussion.

The stipulation all along has been that Martinez will need to be ensured playing time in order to remain at the major-league level. With Gary Sheffield experiencing discomfort behind his right knee and with Angel Pagan on the DL with a groin strain, the playing time could present itself.

Ricco indicated that Martinez’s development would take precedence, and that he needs playing time wherever he is assigned, since the 20-year-old rookie was limited to a combined 146 games in 2007-08 at Double-A Binghamton because of hamstring and hand injuries.

Here are some things to consider…

The Pros

1. His defense in leftfield and rightfield has been outstanding, and he showed remarkable poise spearing a would-be extra-base hit against the wall on Sunday, and yesterday his diving attempt at a ball that dropped in for a hit was so close to being a web gem. 

2. A very small sample size, but he has shown remarkable patience at the plate with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts in 25 plate appearances. It’s not that far off from his minor league numbers, so the approach at the plate could be legit.

3. He has flashed some of his stolen base speed which he didn’t do much of in the minors, mostly because he usually batted cleanup. In 271 games, Martinez stole just 19 bases, and in 7 games with the Mets he has two swipes.

The Cons

1. A not so impressive .174 batting average overall, and he is 0-7 against lefthanded pitching.

2. He’s still just 20 years old, and more seasoning in the minors wouldn’t hurt his progress.

3. His baserunning faux pas last week, showed a lack of fundamentals and instincts, however it shouldn’t be longterm problem.

F-Mart probably goes back down to Class-AAA Buffalo once Church is activated, but we have seen some nice flashes of just how special Martinez is. He won’t be in the minors for too long, and I’m betting that the next time he comes up, it will be for good.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that Ryan Church sticks around for much longer. Many in the media believe he is on his way out, which could open up a permanent spot for Martinez, or the Mets might trade for a corner outfield before the deadline.

Whatever happens, one thing is certain… Unlike many other Mets cant-miss outfield prospects the Mets have had in the past 10 years, Fernando Martinez looks like he might be as good as advertised.

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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