Player: Jeremy Martinez
Drafted by: Chicago Cubs (No. 1,098 overall)
DOB: 12/29/1994 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 5’11”/200 lbs
School: Mater Dei High School (Calif.)
Previously Drafted: N/A
Martinez burst onto the scene as a high school sophomore for arguably the most prestigious program in the country, Mater Dei High. It didn't take long for him to emerge as one of the top prospects of the 2013 class, and while he's continued to perform as expected, he hasn't managed to stay in the limelight. As of right now, he's widely regarded as the fourth- or fifth-best catching prospect in this year's class.
Martinez has been a regular on the showcase circuit and has flashed impressive tools, including good hitting ability and power to go along with superior defensive ability. He committed early to USC and appears willing to honor that if the money isn't ripe for the taking. A questionable track record for recent Trojans draft prospects might be enough to change his mind.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Martinez has one of the best bats of any catcher in this draft, regardless of class; smooth, easy swing with no holes; if he reaches his potential, he should have no problem hitting over .300 on a regular basis; his bat should carry him, regardless of whether or not his power develops into anything more than a bunch of doubles; an incredibly patient hitter considering his age; if he goes the college route, he should have no problem drawing more walks than strikeouts; as a pro, he'll likely go through the motions early on, but he should develop into a serious on-base percentage threat.
Has shown good raw power; always one to watch in batting practice sessions; yet to really translate into game action; will likely be more of a gap-to-gap hitter in the early stages of his pro career; in-game power will take a while to develop; if power develops, Martinez could have 15-20 homer potential.
Below-average runner, not surprisingly given his position; likely won't get much better as he progresses in age; will have to work hard to not be a base-clogger.
Defensively, there isn't much more to ask of Martinez; he's quick behind the plate, quicker than others of his size; there are concerns about his lower half getting too thick down the road; should be a slightly above-average defensive catcher for at least a few years; arm strength and accuracy are tools; good fundamentals.
Martinez's pop-times have been consistently clocked in 1.9 to 2.1 range; his arm strength is just slightly above-average; compensates by showing great accuracy with all of his throws; also shows a quick arm behind the plate; very quick release.
MLB Player Comparison: Wilin Rosario
Projection: Solid everyday catcher with Gold Glove potential.
MLB ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 50%
A commitment to USC is no small thing, but Martinez has a chance to capitalize on the weakness of this year's crop of catchers. If he heads to SoCal, he could end up as a sure-fire first-rounder, but there's always risk in passing up a chance to turn pro.