The Cubs signed Martinez out of Cuba for a $3 million bonus in October, 2015. He’s a high-ceiling talent but also arrives with some questions. The questions come on two fronts, but they tie in together, and they’ll define what kind of player Martinez will ultimately be. The first is defense. While Martinez runs well, his reads and routes can be erratic. As a consequence, he spent much of camp in right field instead of center. The second question is whether he will have the kind of power teams traditionally want if he does remain in right. There is no question about his arm, which rates at least plus.
As a hitter, Martinez has quick, strong hands and good bat speed, and he’s able to drive the ball to both gaps. He has shown flashes of raw power, particularly to his pull side, but can be overly aggressive and chase pitches out of the zone. For now, he can still jump on mistakes, as he has twice this year in South Bend, but as he moves up and faces better pitching, he’ll have to develop a more mature approach.
Martinez is an exciting player who is still a bit raw despite already being 21 years old. There is work to do, but Martinez has the tools to become a dynamic all-around player. – John Arguello