I was up in Whitestone this Canada Day long weekend doing what a lot of us like to do, which is BBQ the hell out of everything, drink whatever, splash around in the lake, and all that other cottage-y kind of stuff. But, many Canadians forget the importance of July 2nd for their future Toronto Blue Jays, as this is the day when 16-year-old prodigious international baseball players are eligible to ink some big time MLB contracts. So, is July 2nd an important date for MLB organizations? You bet your damn Vladdy toques it is, eh!
As we all know, Alex Anthopoulos has an adventurous tale about how he did everything from pretty much wrestle snakes, buy a Home Hardware, murder mosquitos, walk thousands of miles, speak French, and eat 100 hot dogs in under a minute to persuade Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. to sign with the Jays. And whatever the hell he did, it worked. So, thank you, Alex – again. And because of his great effort, the Jays have the number 1 ranked prospect in baseball.
In 2016, the Jays didn’t have enough dineros in their international bank to sign a player, so Mark Shapiro and company sat back and waited as the Jays won baseball games during that sweet summer of ’16, when everything was still fun. But, time pressed on as it always does and the Jays had some cash to spend in the international market in 2017. They took that beautiful money and signed Brazilian pitcher Eric Pardinho and now he is in Bluefield making a ton of noise as he continues to make hitters look kind of stupid with his filthy stuff.
So when I woke up with a bit of a hoser hangover this past weekend, I was really excited to see who the Jays ended up signing. I checked Twitter and saw that the Jays got shortstop Orelvis Martinez for a bonus of $3,500,000. And MLB.com ranks Martinez as the No. 4 international prospect in this year’s class, while Baseball America has him ranked at No. 7. So, the Jays went fishing and caught themselves another shortstop. More than I caught at Wahwashkesh Lake – I swear there are no fish in it. Anyway, moving on…
To be honest, I didn’t really know shit about Martinez, so I started to Google the hell out of him to find out what I could.
MLB.com says that scouts compare him to Adrian Beltre, which is very fine. One scout says that he is a hard-hitting infielder with a good projectable body and a strong arm. And that at the plate, he has a good rhythm and a short, compact swing with plus bat speed.
I am no Brook Jacoby or baseball scout or anything, but it’s kind of crazy how effortlessly he makes hitting look in this video, right? I know that it’s not game footage or anything, but still – not too bad for a 16-year-old. Baseball America has him listed at 5’11” and he has many more moons to get taller and build some muscle and all that kind of stuff. Both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline suggest he has a chance to stay at shortstop but will eventually move to third and be an above-average defender as a strong and physical player, but who really knows.
At this point in time, the Jays’ system is rich with shortstops, as they also picked up Jordan Groshans with their first overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. And speaking of Groshans, the kid is absolutely mashing for the GCL Blue Jays, slashing .389/.488/.639 with a yowza 1.127 OPS – not too damn bad at all folks.
So with the recent addition of Groshans and with Bo Bichette, Logan Warmoth, Kevin Smith, Kevin Vicuna, Richard Ureña and now Martinez, the Jays have a lot of depth up the middle in their farm system. And let’s not forget recently acquired Santiago Espinal from Boston, too. Godspeed, Steve Pearce. And all your different coloured sleeves.
The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays might not be much fun at all, but what’s happening in the farm is something to get bat-flippin’ excited about. 2019 might be a year of watching some young talent live through some MLB growing pains, but the 2020 decade is going to bring back the mother effing ruckus. And as long as the organization continues to add players of all ages, the system will have talent at all levels. And if they continue to build a championship caliber farm system with their own type of players, then the future will be even brighter.
It’s going to take some time for us to get to know what Orelvis Martinez is all about. But, the Jays went international fishing on July 2nd while a lot of us woke up in a Canada Day haze. Maybe they caught themselves another fine prospect. And at the cost of $3,500,000, I’d like to think so. So far July 2nd has delivered us Vladdy and Pardinho, so something tells me we will all be excited about Martinez – it’s only a matter of when he contributes some noise to this banging minor-league Jays drum.