A few years back, the Chicago Cubs signed one the top international prospects out of Cuba. Since joining the ranks, he’s fizzled out but remains present.
Back on October 8, 2015, the Chicago Cubs signed 20-year old Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez to a $3 million deal. Martinez was ranked among the top-five best International prospects in 2015 by MLB.com at the time.
The 6’1″, 195-pound Martinez was often times referred to as a “young Andruw Jones” by scouts. Having the tools to be a speedy, power-hitting outfielder with the ability to work long at-bats and solid defensive instincts, Martinez was on the radar of a number of teams before signing with the Cubs.
It looked like another piece with high potential was going to be developing in the farm system as many of the other young Cubs grew into the majors. Yet, he has kind of faded into oblivion among many fans who do not follow the minors religiously. What has become of the once top-International prospect?
Martinez still in the system
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Martinez is now 23 and has played in the Cubs farm system since 2016. He began in South Bend and moved his way up to Myrtle Beach in 2017 and played last year with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies. He has essentially moved on up the farm ranks by season and has not spent a season with two or more teams in the system.
In his MiLB career, he is a .240/.302/.374 hitter with a .676 OPS, a 20.6 percent strikeout rate and 36 home runs in 372 games. Last year in Tennessee he slashed .221/.276/.375 with 12 homers in 119 games. 278 of his career games have been in right field, with 40 in left and 13 in center.
Martinez has shown some home run power, averaging 12 home runs a season in the minors, but that is really about it. The on-base is well below average and just has not done a whole lot in terms of production. His first year in 2016 in South Bend was respectable for the then 21-year old kid, .254/.331/.380 in 126 games, but the numbers have unfortunately dropped as he has moved up the ranks.
Does Martinez have a future with the club?
Right now the odds for him do not look good just based on the performance. Granted, he is only 23 though and late-bloomers happen, but he is going to have to prove it in the minors first. This coming year he will turn 24 and may be back in Double-A to start the year.
Martinez has not been ranked among the team’s top prospects in several years and has not been on recent lists as a top guy in the Cubs farm system. Again, it is probably going to take a huge turnaround for him to climb up further and possibly see the majors one day. There is a lot of work to do for him, but being young can help physically and mentally. It may not look promising but anything can happen in baseball.
It’ll be interesting to see if he never does pan out in any way. He may not have been a major prospect like a Kris Bryant or Kyle Schwarber, but he was pretty highly touted by scouts when he signed. The raw talent was clearly there when he joined the ranks, it is just a matter if it ever transfers to professional ball here or not.