Orelvis is the Next Prospect to Get All Shook Up Over

My promise to you, gentle readers, is to never use the above line again. Similarly, #OrelvisHasLefttheBuilding has, well…..left the building, as far as my lexicon is concerned.

But the hype is real. With Gabriel Moreno out with a broken thumb, Alejandro Kirk and Alek Manoah about to lose prospect status, and Austin Martin dealt away with Simeon Woods Richardson, Orelvis Martinez is the best prospect currently playing in the Blue Jays farm system.

Hands down.

We were first made aware of Orelvis as far back as 2018 (let’s keep in mind that thanks to the pandemic, prospect years are kind of measured differently, like dog years). Ben Badler of Baseball America had this evaluation of the 16 year old:

Has fast hands and a calm, easy swing that generates power and loft from right-center over to his pull side.

And that, as much as anything, characterizes Martinez. He gets the barrel out in front as well as anyone in the organization. Pitchers who try to beat him on the inner half do so at their own risk, because his fast hands can get to just about anything.

This has been a breakout season of sorts for Orelvis, with his 19 home runs for Dunedin helping to propel him to High A Vancouver, where he bashed his 20th round tripper in his first game for the C’s last night. But BA had been on him since 2019, when they named him the former Gulf Coast League’s top prospect:

Martinez has excellent hands and uses them well at the plate to generate quick bat speed and easy, above-average power. He has some moving parts in his swing, but he has good enough hand-eye coordination to make frequent contact, with a swing geared for loft that allows his power to show up in games. His seven home runs tied for second in the league. He has a calm approach, manages his at-bats well and controls the strike zone. Martinez’s hands play well in the field, too, and are his best defensive attribute.

Speaking of his defence, a recent weeks’ worth of viewing Martinez shows that he has a rifle for an arm, but his reactions at SS are not that of a typical shortstop. The position still doesn’t appear to come to him naturally. It’s easier to see him at 3rd, or even RF down the line. But wherever he lands, his bat will play.

Orelvis can be pull happy – he’s hit over 60% of balls to the left side this season. You’re going to get strikeouts with his kind of approach (25% K rate this season), but you’re also going to see a lot of barrels. Last year, he spent the last part of the season at the alt site in Rochester, and more than held his own against much older and stiffer competition. He dug in during a simulated game against Manoah shortly after arriving, and after fouling off a couple of pitches, drove one deep but just foul down the LF line before striking out. That was notice that his arrival was impending.

When he signed, farm director Gil Kim lauded his makeup, and while he’s made tremendous progress, a few sources have suggested that his emotional maturity hasn’t quite matched his physical growth. Then again, he won’t be 20 until November. By sending him to the Pacific Northwest, the Blue Jays have challenged him both competitively and maturity-wise. He’s out of the comfort zone he had in Florida, and the game may become a little harder both on and off the field. In the long run, that adversity can be a good thing.

The most frequent comp made for Orelvis is Adrian Beltre, and it’s an apt one. He’ll continue to get reps at SS, but it’s reasonable to expect he’ll see some time at the hot corner for the remainder of the season.

Martinez currently sits at #57 in BA’s mid season Top 100 rankings. There’s every reason to believe he’ll be significantly higher next spring. Every home run he hits inches him closer to Toronto.

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