As we continue to preview the best prospects across the Chicago baseball landscape this afternoon, we take a look at Chicago Cubs #13 prospect, Eddy Martinez.
Eddy Martinez debuted in Cuba’s most respected professional baseball league in 2013 at the tender age of 18-years-old, playing parts of two seasons for the Lenadores de Las Tunas. Martinez defected from Cubs in 2014, only six games into his second season in Cuba, and was signed as an international free-agent by the Chicago Cubs in October of 2015.
The Cubs signed Martinez to a contract that included a $3 million dollar signing bonus. Martinez, 22, was rated the #1 rated international prospect when he signed with the Cubs, and made his debut with the Chicago Cubs Class-A affiliate, the South Bend Cubs, in the spring of 2016.
Martinez came to the South Bend Cubs, and the Chicago Cubs organization with some lofty expectations after signing, once looked at as the next Andruw Jones, a mighty large expectation to place on a kid who was just 20-years-old when he signed his first contract with the Chicago Cubs. But Martinez is not letting the lofty expectations affect him according to Sound Bend Cubs’ hitting coach Guillermo Martinez.
He’s a pro, if you get what I mean,” said Guillermo Martinez, Cubs hitting coach and Eddy Julio’s translator. “He’s a pro by the way he goes about his business. (Expectations) are tough. We’re putting all this on him. I expect him to work every day and to be a pro. The tools are there — he can run, he can hit, he can throw. It’s a matter of learning how to deal with the outside things.
Scouts have turned in mixed reports on Martinez, though most believe that Martinez has the potential to develop five solid tools at the major-league level in the future. Martinez has above average bat speed behind his right-handed swing, that can generate impressive power moving forward. Martinez was given a 55 and 50 for his Hit and Power tools on the 20/80 scale respectively, according to MLB Pipeline.
His best tool’s are his speed and his arm, which are both rated at 60 on the 20/80 scale, with his fielding grade sitting at a 55. Martinez was given an overall grade of 50 on the 20/80 scale, putting him right in the middle for now. Martinez has displayed a strong arm, that will suit him well playing in right-field as he progresses through the Cubs farm system.
After a slow start to his 2016 season in the cold mid-west spring temperatures, Martinez wrapped up his first professional season with the South Bend Cubs posting a .254 batting average. Martinez was affected by the adjustment that he had to make in his first season in the United States, playing in the cold. A native of Cuba, Martinez had this to say about the new climate through a translator, “There’s nothing like this in Cuba,” Martinez said about his first experience in frigid weather. “But this is something I have to learn, to play in all kinds of weather.”
Martinez hit 10 home runs, 24 doubles,and a pair of triples, while driving in 67 runs over the course of 126 games with South Bend. Martinez struck out 113 times, while drawing 50 walks in 2016, and posted a slash line of .329/.319/.648 while swiping eight bases.
The 21-year-old outfielder is expected to spend at least the 2017 season developing, and continuing to become accustomed to the professional game in the Cubs minor-league system. The earliest that Martinez will likely surface at the major-league level is probably sometime in 2018. Given the Cubs depth at the major-league level, there’s really no rush for Martinez, so he can completely develop before making his major-league debut.