Late last summer, as the alt camp was starting to wind down, 18 year old Orelvis Martinez had earned himself a promotion to Rochester to train and play with the high level prospects there. The Blue Jays felt that despite his young age, he would benefit from the experience.
Shortly after joining the camp, Martinez found himself facing Alek Manoah in a simulated game. He took Manoah’s first pitch deep down the left field line; even though the ball hooked foul, Martinez’ arrival as a future big leaguer had been announced.
C Gabriel Moreno was posting video game numbers before breaking his thumb in late June, but otherwise no other Blue Jays position came close to posting numbers like Martinez.
After what was a slow start given the expectations, Martinez laid waste to Low A Southeast pitching in July, slashing .313/.420/.798, mashing 13 HRs along the way. Promoted to High A Vancouver, Martinez did struggle for the first time in his young career, particularly with off speed stuff, where he was either lunging or out and front. Still, he banged out another 9 round trippers in 122 PAs with the C’s.
And we have to remember above all – Orelvis won’t turn 20 until November.
His swing should play well in the Rogers Centre power alleys, and given his age, there is still plenty of room for projection.
Defensively, the Blue Jays were content to give Martinez as many reps at SS as they could, but he’s far from a polished glove at the moment. There is quick-twitch athleticism and a strong arm, but his movements and reactions are not as smooth as a big league short stop’s. Given the size he likely will be once he’s finished filling out, a move to 3B seems likely in the near future.
This off season, clubs the Blue Jays deal with as they attempt to shore up the big league roster will be inquiring as to Martinez’ availability. Along with Moreno, you would have to think he’s as close to an untouchable as you could get.