Blue Jays Nation’s 2023 Preseason Top 50: #8 Gabriel Martinez
Photo credit:Niall O'Donohoe - CSPlusBaseball
7 days ago
Prior to the start of the 2022 season, Gabriel Martinez ranked as Blue Jays Nation’s 17th best prospect.
While he had a fantastic 2021 in the Florida Complex League, especially showcasing his hit tool, there were some question marks to be answered about his lack of power.
As you may guess, those questions were answered in 2022, hence why he ranks as the 8th best prospect heading into the 2023 season.
But first, let’s look at the criteria.
Instead of writing this out every time I did for the mid-season Top 60, I’ll copy and paste my criteria for how I rank and scout these players.
There are many factors that determine a top prospect. The eye test is the biggest driver in determining a top prospect, but proximity to the majors, ceiling, and floor is also important. Moreover, statistics are another key ingredient, as everything works together to give you numbers.
As for the grades, it’s important to remember that they are relative to the league in which they play. A kid from Dunedin is not going to have a 50-grade hit tool if he were placed in the big leagues. But relative to the league in which he plays, a .300 hitter is eligible to have that grade.
For these prospects, I’ll be reviewing their background, numbers in the minors, pitch mix (if they’re a pitcher), and giving a scouting report (if feasible, rookie league guys are difficult).
Let’s jump in!
Gabriel Martinez‘s career so far:
The 20-year-old Venezuelan was signed during the 2018 international free agency period.
He spent his first season (2019) in the Dominican Summer League, slashing .239/.317/.347 with two homers, and an 8.6 BB% and 10.6 K%. This was by far his worst offensive output, but he broke out in 2021.
He spent the majority of the season with the Florida Complex League Blue Jays, slashing .330/.448/.410 with no homers, and a 16.8 BB% and 14.4 K% in 125 plate appearances, for a 140 wRC+. He spent the tail end of the 2021 season with the Low-A Dunedin Blue Jays, where he had a 123 wRC+ in his 13 plate appearances.
The one hole in Martinez’s game that needed improvement was his power tool, which was drastically improved in the 2022 season. He started the season with the Low-A Dunedin Blue Jays, where he slashed .288/.348/.483 with 11 homers in 264 plate appearances. His BB% dropped to 8%, and his K% had a slight tick up to 17%. Overall, he had a 135 wRC+, and really became a prospect to keep an eye on with the emergence of his power.
He earned a promotion to the High-A Vancouver Canadians, where he hit even better. In 113 plate appearances, the 20-year-old right fielder slashed .324/.381/.490 with three homers in just 113 plate appearances. His K% dropped to 15%, while his BB% remained around the same at 8%. He finished the 2022 season with a 141 wRC+ with the Canadians.
Muscular build, with big legs, built-out upper half, and broad shoulders. Martinez is a great hitter, with the ability to take a walk, hit for average, and hit difficult pitches. In 2022, his power emerged as well, making him one of the Blue Jays top prospects. Defensively, he is above average, with good range in the corner outfield and a strong arm. He is an average runner who doesn’t use his speed on bases that often. He has a tendency to pop the ball up on the infield, but that could change as he continues to fill out his frame.
Where he’ll start in 2023:
It’s likely that the 20-year-old will start the 2023 season with the High-A Vancouver Canadians. However, it’s not out of the question that he gets a promotion to the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats if he can continue to build off his 2022 season.
To get to the next step, he needs to continue to develop his power tool and drop his infield fly ball percentage. He’s definitely on the right track and could see Double-A as a 20-year-old, much like another Martinez in the Blue Jays organization.
Would you look at that, in the next article, we’ll look at another 2022 draftee!
In case you missed it:
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D. Also give Niall O’Donohoe a follow @CSplusBaseball on Twitter and Instagram. His website can be found here .
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