Where in the World Is Fernando Martinez?

Phil HoopsCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2009

Over the past few seasons, the New York Mets have made trades that have vastly depleted their farm system.

However, in all of these trades the Mets have refused to part with one player. That player is Fernando Martinez.

Martinez, acquired by the Mets in the Summer of 2005 at the age of 16, has quickly gained a reputation as the Mets' top prospect. For the past two years he has been selected to play in both Futures Games.

Considering the Mets' desire to improve the outfield it would make sense for Fernando to be used in the outfield next season? After all, Martinez is viewed as a potential five-tool player and has spent three years in the minor leagues.

Seems like a no-brainer. Wrong! Fernando Martinez will not be playing outfield in Citi Field this year. While Martinez has performed well in the minors, he has struggled to stay healthy.

Last season, he played in only 86 games at the Double-A level. While he had moderate success there, hitting .287 in 352 ABs there are some that feel he can benefit from more time in the minors, and a slower promotion through the minors.

In 2007, Martinez played in only 60 games because of nagging injuries.

Most likely, the Mets will start him in Double-A for the third consecutive season and promote him to Triple-A at some point.

My guess would be that the Mets are not willing to commit more than a one or two year deal to an outfielder given the fact that they plan to promote Martinez to the major league club in either late 2010 or 2011.

Clearly, Martinez has the skills to ensure a successful big league career. The biggest obstacle in his career appears to be whether or not he can remain healthy.