What of the Fernanchise?

Since 2007, he’s moved down on Baseball America’s Top 100 list from the 20th to 30th to 77th position. Now, according an e-mail from BA editor Jim Callis, he’s off the list. All this has happened before Martinez’s 22nd birthday. Is it him, or is it a curse of expectations that became too high?

Martinez has spent this season with Triple-A Buffalo. A recent surge, after Callis sent his e-mail, has his average up to .256. He has struck out 59 times and walked just 17, a ratio the sabermetricians hate. But he has 12 homers in 258 at-bats with an isolated slugging (batting average minus slugging average) above .200. That’s at the level of most developing sluggers.

Mike Salfino, SNY.tv.

I would argue that it’s totally fair to cut down Fernando Martinez’s prospect status based on his inability to stay healthy for any great length of time. Though there have certainly been examples of injury-prone players turning into mostly healthy ones once they grow into their bodies, Martinez’s propensity for injury is troublesome and makes it pretty hard to remain bullish about his future.

I agree with Mike, though, that it’s still hard to dock Martinez too many spots based on performance. He’s 21 and was rushed through the farm system. As Salfino points out, it feels like he’s past prospect age because we’ve been hearing about him for so long, but is younger than the average player on the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Martinez is more than a year younger than Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the man recently anointed the Mets’ new best outfield prospect (replacing Martinez). Nieuwenhuis steals bases and reportedly plays center field pretty well so they’re not exactly comparable players, but Martinez’s .825 career Triple-A OPS isn’t terribly far off Captain Kirk’s .869 Double-A line across a similar sample size.

Does that mean Martinez should still be considered a top prospect? I don’t know. Jim Callis knows way more about ranking prospects than I do.

I’m just not ready to count out a 21-year-old with some — albeit limited — success at the Minors’ highest level.

16 thoughts on “What of the Fernanchise?

  1. I just dont think you can write any prospect off at the age of 21, thats just ridiculous. I just think the idea of pegging when a guy should be ready is wrong in the forst place.

    Some guys surge ahead to the big leagues ahead of schedule and thats great, and other, take longer as we know. But even where he stands now, F-Mart is probably still ahead of the game, its just that hes currently stalled, and that has people all antsy.

    Compare him to Ike, who at the same age was basically terrible for Low A brooklyn. I mean in a similar amount of ABs Fernandos numbers even this year blow away what Ike did in low A at the same age.

    And now Ike is tthe Mets starting 3rd baseman.

    • I don’t think anyone’s writing him off, when he was being included in these lists it was because they were expecting WAY more production at this point than what’s happened. Really his being dropped is more a product of him being over ranked in the first place. He was in the top 20 because they expected him to be something like Heyward/Stanton at this point.

  2. Batting 6th on a so-so triple A team, lots of DL time,not too much power for a corner OFer,never a big year in the minors,that doesn’t sound like a top 100 prospect to me either.

  3. How is 20 homeruns in a little over 400 at bats not a lot of power? Yes it is over a two year period but Martinez still has a great deal of potential. Nieuwenhuis is a great prospect as well. The Mets are getting burned for over hyping their prospects and now the legitimate prospects aren’t given the credit they deserve. Campbell and Duda have taken big steps forward. It’s been a good overall year for the Mets system. The only major disappointment has been the entire St. Lucie rotation.

    • Eh pretty much all our pitching prospects have been major disappointments, excluding Meija since he’s no longer technically a prospect and has mind numbingly mishandled, so far, and Kirk and F-mart have been underwhelming. So really outside of Flores and Thole most of our top 10-20 prospects have taken steps back.

  4. Why does it seem that our “can’t miss prospects” miss more often than not?? F-Mart, Alex Escobar, Lastings Millege….these guys were all supposed to be 5 tool players, now they are just TOOLS. Is our scouting dept that far off??

    • Personally, I’ve never been a fan of “5 tool” prospects. Too often, they wind up being Francouer, or Alex Ochoa – 15 HR, 15 SB, .270 hitting OF’s with great arms.

      I want to see at least one outstanding offensive tool – tremendous power or the ability to hit .350 in the minors. Otherwise, it’s very hard tgo project.

  5. Does that mean Martinez should still be considered a top prospect? I don’t know.

    I don’t know???? Obviously not. As you say Jim Callis knows more than you so why not unequivocally say no. Oh right…

  6. “Let people write him off, less spotlight = less pressure”. This is absolutely correct ! Let the guy enjoy some success without unrealistic expectations and distractions. A year ago some so called experts were saying Capt Kirk would be exposed as an average player as he moved up. It’s got to be so frustrating as a prospect to not produce and always be on the DL. Hopefully the org has learned from its mistakes of rushing teenagers who barely understand the culture and language. Our biggest problem the last 4 yrs at the ML level has been a lack of a clear leader. If the most talented players arent comfortable with the language and spotlight it is not surprising they dont take on the outspoken leader role. Think of your own job, whatever it might be – could you suddenly transport to a company in Czechslovakia, Kazakstan or whereever and suddenly be the leader where you couldnt communicate and understand why people behave as they do ? I think it was also difficult asking a 25 or 26 yr old Wright to be the outspoken leader and order the older vets around. Uncle Cliff played an important role as did the Stache and now Alex, even if Alex is there to be more of a player coach vs. a toolsy player.

  7. Counterpoint —- While younger than Kirk Nieuwenheis, a player that no one outside of people who read blogs about the Mets have ever heard of, he is OLDER than both Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves AND Mike Stanton of the Florida Marlins and NOWHERE near as polished. The young argument is getting old fast.

    • this, the young argument works after your first 1-3 years in the minors.

      When you’ve been in the minors for 4-5 years, it starts to not matter how old you actually are.

      That being said part of the reason for the lack of polish is the number of games he’s missed, which really is another count against him, when after 4-5 years you can’t make it through a full season in the minor leagues you start to go from unlucky to just plain injury prone.

      He could still become something, but his lack of inclusion on these lists is more than justified IMO when you consider everything, the poor bb/k numbers the inconsistent power, the fact he won’t play a premium position, the injury history and the lack of progression after so many years.

  8. He’s nowhere near as polished as a couple of ELITE prospects that he is 8 and 11 months older than? Man, that’s the book on his career. Mets should just get rid of him right now.

    • Well the point is more, that that’s why the age argument isn’t really relevant anymore,. He was supposed to be an elite prospect like Heyward and Stanton, and that’s why he ranked so high early not because of his production, and now that he’s not longer elite projection wise and his production is still underwhelming there’s really no reason for him to be considered a top guy.

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