Blue Jays 40-man Roster Review: Orelvis Martinez had a breakout season in 2023 and might be the third baseman of the future

Photo credit:Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Brennan Delaney
1 month ago
The Blue Jays have a power-hitting third baseman waiting in the wings.
It’s safe to say that the 22-year-old Orelvis Martinez had a great bounce-back season in 2023. The third baseman/shortstop broke out during the 2021 season, batting .261/.345/.549 with 28 home runs in 451 plate appearances between Single-A Dunedin and High-A Vancouver.  During the 2021 season, Martinez (then 19 years old) had a 135 wRC+, the sixth-highest in the organization for batters with 200 plate appearances.
A season later, and the 20-year-old was fast-tracked to Double-A New Hampshire, where there was some good and some bad.  The bad was that he slashed .203/.286/.446 for a 96 wRC+. The good news is that his 30 home runs were second in all of Double-A in 2022. That’s even more impressive considering the fact he was only 20 and hitting for serious power in the upper minors.
It looked as if the 2023 season was going to be a repeat of the previous season, as the 21-year-old repeated the Double-A level and slashed just .089/.169/.266 with four home runs a 24.4 K% in 90 plate appearances to start the season. However, from May 10th until his promotion to Triple-A on July 14, Martinez slashed an incredible .294/.416/.594 hitting 13 home runs with a 16.3 BB% and an 18.8 K% in 202 plate appearances. In total, Martinez had a .226/.339/.485 slash line with 17 homers in 292 plate appearances, along with a 14 BB% and a 20.5 K%.
Martinez spent the other half of his 2023 season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, slashing .263/.340/.507 with 11 home runs in 246 plate appearances. His K% increased to 26.8%, while his BB% decreased to 10.6%, giving him a 105 wRC+ on the season with Buffalo.
Between the two levels, Martinez had a .243/.340/.496 slash line with an organization-leading 28 home runs in 538 plate appearances. His BB% jumped from 8.1% in 2022 to 12.5% in 2023, while his K% dropped from 28.5% in 2022 to 23.4% in 2023.
His tenure in Buffalo was just slightly above average in terms of wRC+. However, there were only seven players who were 21 or younger in Triple-A last season, and Martinez’s 105 wRC+ ranked fourth behind notable prospects Coby Mayo, Colt Keith, and Masyn Winn. It’s entirely possible that Martinez will have better success in Triple-A with more experience, as was the case with Double-A.
Either way, the Blue Jays have a gaping hole at third base at the moment, but Martinez may fill that hole in just a few short seasons if he can continue to hit for power while making improvements in his game.

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