Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus selects Fernando Martinez as one of his “make or break” prospects for the 2011 season, and I couldn’t agree more.
Martinez has been a must for this list for so long that we should rename it the annual Fernando Martinez list. The amazing thing is that the outfielder is still just 21 years old; what’s troubling is that the nonstop stream of injuries that have affected his development have finally begun to impact his tools. No longer fast, and barely an average runner, Martinez has gone from a potential five-tool talent to one whose value revolves solely around his bat. Right now, he’s not enough of an offensive force to play every day in a corner, but for the fourth or fifth year in a row, he’s still young enough to become a good big leaguer.
Actually, Martinez is now 22 and he has yet to play more than 90 games in any season at any level since the Mets signed him as a raw, untested 16-year old. And that was before he was diagnosed with arthritis in his knee.
His fall from grace has been well documented in his Baseball America rankings over the years:
2007: #16 Ranked Prospect
2008: #20 Ranked Prospect
2009: #30 Ranked Prospect
2010: #77 Ranked Prospect
2011: #165 Ranked Prospect by Deep Leagues.
For all that talk about his five-tool skills, not only is his speed gone, and his defense, but in almost 1,400 at-bats he’s hit just 42 home runs.
This season, F-Mart will be repeating Buffalo for the third straight season.