Tag: fernando martinez

How Fernando Martinez is Like Kindle Fire

NY Daily News

There was never anything phenomenal about Fernando Martinez. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2005 by explorer Omar Minaya. Minaya seemed to have some success in the past down in those waters, but Martinez was supposed to be the top prize.

After years and years of hearing he was the future, the love story has finally come to an end. Fernando Martinez is now a Houston Astro thanks to Sandy Alderson placing him on waivers. It seems like only yesterday F-Mart was the talk of the town. He was that can’t-miss prospect that all publications were drooling over. But quite frankly, he wasn’t all that good, ever.

As I look at it, Fernando Martinez is that toy you got on Christmas. You remember that toy, don’t you? For me this year, it’s the Kindle Fire. When I first got it, I couldn’t put it down. I was browsing all over the internet, syncing my emails, downloading books, etc… Fernando Martinez was that toy for a while. He was the number-one ranked prospect in the Mets organization in 2007 and 2008. I’m sure you know that by now.

He once was the 20th-best prospect in all of baseball. That was four years ago. As the weeks have gone on, I don’t play with my Kindle as much. I read three novels on it (Read “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach; great novel). I look at it and ask, “What else do you have to offer?” Fernando Martinez is my Kindle Fire, minus the various features and apps. He offered me so much promise, yet will remain behind my Macbook and iPhone. Fernando Martinez is that old toy.

I don’t really know what to say at this point. Martinez once ruled the baseball world like Queen Elizabeth. He looked good very young, but grew old very quick. But what was really so attractive about Martinez in the first place? His best WAR was a 1.5, which happened in 2008, which caused the Mets to believe that he was ready. He was not. His career minor league slash: .274/.333/.443. Not impressive. While scouts raved about his fielding, we all will remember him for falling flat on his face, going after a ball in Milwaukee. That’s what all of baseball remembers him as. He never developed the power that fans thought and quite frankly, I don’t think he’ll ever be a third of what he was hyped to be.

As the Fernando Martinez era has come to a close in New York, let him serve as a reminder. STOP OVERHYPING PROSPECTS BECAUSE PEOPLE LAUGH AT US! Add Martinez to the list of Alex Escobar, Alex Ochoa, Lastings Milledge. Coming soon will be Wilmer Flores because he’s showing exactly what Martinez showed: heartbreak and nothing worth playing with the next day. Sure I am bitter. I want the Mets prospects to pan out and lead us to the promise land. But why does it always happen to us? Why can’t it happen to the Yankees? Or the Phillies (crosses fingers: Dominic Brown)? Maybe Fernando will find himself in a new city. Houston, we have lift off!


Would You Trade Fernando Martinez for Chris Tillman?

According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, the Orioles “would be willing to” trade right-hander Chris Tillman.

If you recall, Tillman, who will be just 24 next year, was, not too long ago, one of the most highly regarded pitching prospects in the game. Drafted in the second round of the 2006 draft by Seattle, the Mariners traded Tillman in a five-player package highlighted by outfielder Adam Jones to the Orioles for Erik Bedard before the 2008 season.  Tillman’s prospect profile took off from there; he dominated AA in 2008, ranking as the 22nd best prospect in the game by Baseball America heading into 2009. Tillman continued his success in AAA the following year, making his major league debut at 21 years-old in July of 2009.

Unfortunately for the Orioles, Tillman’s arrival has thus far marked the high point of his career. He has bounced between AAA and the Majors the past two seasons, struggling mightily in the big leagues; he is 7-15 with a 5.58 ERA in 180.2 career innings. His fastball velocity has steadily declined over the last three seasons, from an average of 92 mph in 2009 to 89.5 last season (although that might be partly be due to throwing a two-seamer more often), and his overall development has clearly stalled.

One thing I find interesting is that Tillman’s performance did show some marked improvement at the big league level in 2011. In 62 innings, he posted a 5.52 ERA but his BABIP  (.348) was high and his LOB% (65.7%) was well below the league average. His K/9 rate was 6.68, and his BB/9 3.63, both of which aren’t too far from average and was an improvement over his 2010 campaign. Tillman’s Achilles heel is his extreme fly-ball tendencies, inducing grounders just 37.3% of the time in 2011. Nevertheless, Tillman’s 4.83 xFIP is far more representative of his 2011 season. While not exactly ace-like, it’s hardly terrible, especially considering he pitched in the AL East.

What’s perplexing is that Tillman actually performed worse in AAA during 2011, posting a 6.25 FIP with a 6.37 K/9 and 4.48 BB/9 in 76.1 innings. Perhaps he was just experimenting at the AAA level, and his big league performance is a better reflection of what he is capable of right now.

On the plus side, Tillman doesn’t have any history of arm injuries. Even if he does regain his old form, Tillman’s fly-ball propensities will probably preclude him from ever really dominating at the big league level. But, many pitchers — such as Ted Lilly — have performed quite well in spite of similar fly-ball tendencies. Worst case, Tillman can very easily be a decent bullpen arm.

And who knows, the good ol’ change of scenery might do wonders for the youngster. While it’s hard to say the Orioles have shown a systemic failure in developing young pitchers, a long line of disappointing pitching prospects — Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, Tillman, Matt Hobgood, Daniel Cabrera, Hayden Penn, Rhadames Liz, newly signed Met Adam Loewen, Matt Riley, etc. — at the very least, suggests Tillman might benefit from working with a different coaching staff.

So would it be worth trading F-Mart for Tillman? Tillman probably has a better chance of making at least some impact for the Mets, as either a back-end starter or a middle reliever, given his lack of injury history. At this point, whom would you rather gamble on?



Is Fernando Martinez a Late-bloomer or a Bust?

About 6 years ago the Mets signed a 16 year-old Dominican prospect named Fernando Martinez. Still only 22, he’s been with the Mets organization for six years and has yet to fulfill the high expectations placed on his shoulders as a teenager. Concerning F-Mart’s career, is it time to turn to panic mode?


Ike Davis To DL, Fernando Martinez Promoted

Ike Davis has been placed on the 15-day DL with an ankle sprain, the result of colliding with David Wright on an infield popup the other day. How that collision even happened is a mystery, since the Mets have been focusing on sound fundamentals since Terry Collins took over the team. Surely, Wright properly called for the ball and/or the catcher or pitcher at the time assisted in the process.

To take his place on the roster, Fernando Martinez has been summoned from AAA Buffalo. He’s been hitting .292 with a .838 OPS when not injured himself.

Somewhat strange to see F-Mart get the callup, since he’s an outfielder and the Mets already have 5 of those. One would think they would have promoted a corner infielder — such as a first baseman with some pop — to take Ike’s spot. But both Nick Evans and Lucas Duda are struggling and Zach Lutz has very limited experience at the position.

** UPDATE: it is now our understanding that Duda and Lutz are nursing injuries. Further, Val Pascucci is much too tall and not on the 40-man roster. **

No worries, though. Ike’s injury provides more potential opportunities for Willie Harris and Scott Hairston to get into the lineup. Yippee!