Fernando Martinez Pushes Dominican Republic Past Puerto Rico

Dominick DiFucciAnalyst IFebruary 4, 2009

We finally found Fernando Martinez!

Martinez, who thinks he has what it takes to be a star in the majors, is doing it on another level—the Caribbean World Series for the Dominican Republic.

The top prospect in the Mets organization hit a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning to push the Tigres de Licey past Puerto Rico's Leones de Ponce, 2-1, in Tuesday's matinee at Estadio Casas GEO.

Martinez has a history of success. The 6'1", 190-pound center fielder was named to the Futures Game in 2007 and 2008. In 2006 he was named to the Arizona Fall League All-Prospect team.

Last season the 20-year-old combined to hit .292 in 90 games for the Mets' Gulf Coast League team and Double-A Binghamton. The left-handed hitter smacked eight home runs while driving in 43 runs and striking out 73 times.

The biggest knock on Martinez has been his health—or lack thereof—as he was slowed by a hamstring injury last season. There is also some concern with the fact that he hit only .217 against left-handed pitching. That said, he hit an impressive .317 against right-handed pitching.

On Tuesday he impressed again, entering the game as a pinch-hitter with two outs and hitting the game-winning homer off reliever Jose Vaquedano to give the Dominican Republic a 2-1 lead. Jose Bautista also scored on Martinez's homer.

Fernando was asked where he thinks he'll be next year and he said, "Right now I think I'm going to be in Triple-A, but I'm always thinking of being in the Major Leagues," Fernandez said. "I'm going to go in and have a good Spring Training. You never know."

Source: MLB.com