Harold Martinez was a guy who came into the year looking like a sure-fire top 10 pick. However over the course of the year he continued to fall, mostly as a result of his lack of hitting vs quality pitching.
Going into last year he was ranked as the #5 prospect in the country (#3 position player) by Baseball America and many predicted he would go in the top 10 this year . Bryan Smith of Baseball Prospectus predicted he would go 7th - ahead of Eric Hosmer/Kyle Skipworth and Aaron Crow) in his December Mock. Risk Magazine (I think they are a division of ESPN the Mag) had him ranked as the #4 prospect in the nation behind Melville, Beckham and Hosmer. Perfect Game gave him a PG rating of 10 - a Potential very high draft pick/Top D1 in the nation prospect. Baseball America later ranked him as the #7 high school prospect in the nation and the #14 prospect overall. Martinez ended up at #160 on BA's final Top 200 before the draft. He earned a place on both the under-16 (as a freshman) and under-18 Team USA baseall rosters and was the #3 hitter as a 16 year old.
He was born in Cuba but moved to Miami at the age of 3. He comes from an athletic family (father was a water polo player in Cuba and his mother was a synchronized swimmer)
Evidently his biggest problem at the plate is his lack of confidence. He came into this year as a top 10 prospect and even after his horrible year many still had him going in the 3rd to 5th round-range and some mocks even had him going in the middle to late 1st round.
I tend to agree with what I read at one point which was "talent doesn’t just disappear." Clearly, he has it, and it seems as if going into this year he lost his confidence and it completely wrecked his season. He also seems to be a pretty raw player (most people project he will end up at 3b) and his bad season will probably point him towards college unless he gets a boatload of money.
Seems like time with professional coaches could be what turns him around. Again, he is a guy who has been watched basically for four years so the talent is clearly there. What is a little concerning is the fact that the fell to the 19th round, which would lead me to believe that he probably will go to Miami unless we meet his price. I would like to think that if we paid $1 mil for Lemon we would pay somewhere near that to get a guy that was a consensus top of the draft talent going into this year.
I think it would cost somewhere in the 1 to 1.5 range to sign him and I am not sure if we would pay that, which is a shame considering how much better of a prospect people think/thought he was than Lemon, who never was seen as a top 10 guy (who was #120 I believe on BA's final top 200 before his draft)
(edit: sorry about the formatting, it wont let me fix it no matter how many times i try to)
mlb.com - http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/media/player/mp_tpl.jsp?w=http%3A//mfile.akamai.com/10869/wmv/mlb.download.akamai.com/10869/2008/open/draft/prospects/martinez_harold_400.wmv&type=v_free&_mp=1
Perfect Game Info:
2007 national showcase: Harold Martinez is a 2008 SS/3B with a 6'3'', 185 lb. frame from Miami, FL who attends Braddock HS. Lean, athletic build, excellent projection. Has all the tools. Outstanding defender at 2B/SS/3B. Easy balance, plus arm, smooth hands. Plus/Plus bat speed, ball explodes, balanced pro style approach, big power in the future, can hit high velo FB's now. Game comes easy to him. Top guy!
says he throws 91 from SS to 1b
6.89 60 yard and they rank him as a 10 (10 -- Potential very high draft pick, Top DI in the nation prospect)
2007 world showcase: Major league body, present strength, great arm strength, easy arm, easy actions, soft hands, glides, makes all the plays look easy, range, quick bat, present power with more to come, advanced approach, balanced, leverage, drives the ball, hands back on CB, good eye, top level '08.
throws 94 from ss to 1b
60 yard in 7.15 there
2006 national underclass showcase: Named to Top Prospect Team. Young Arod body. Smooth, easy athletic actions. Quiet athleticism. Showed plus bat speed, lift and big power potential, attacks balls. May have top arm in 2008 class, a cannon. Easy infield pro actions, soft hands. Likely a 3B in the future, but an outstanding SS for now. Elite level talent with huge upside.
SS to 1b: 91 MPH
60 yard: 7.14 sec
Saber Scouting short report:
Yesterday, I headed south to Sarasota to see some of the premium ‘08 and ‘09 draft prospects at the Sarasota Classic. The first day was canceled in the middle of the second wave of games due to rain, but I still got a good look at some top prospects. This post will focus on top ‘08 prospect Braddock (Miami) High SS Harold Martinez. I'll be back to Sarasota later this week to see the end of the tournament, but will be catching another matchup of top ‘08 lefties in the Tampa-area tonight. Check the first dispatch from Sarasota after the jump...
The day started at 1 pm with a matchip of Miami's Braddock HS and Naples' Barron Collier HS. The only legitimate prospect in this game was a big one, the pre-season #7 HS prospect in the nation by Baseball America, Braddock senior SS Harold Martinez. BA's Jim Callis commented earlier this week that Martinez's stock is "plummeting." This would certainly be a good time to take a look at him with 15-20 MLB teams represented in the stands at a high-profile tournament.
I can report that Jim Callis' information did not disappoint. I'll have a full Harold Martinez scouting report up later with some video I took, but he looked the part of the "hyped prospect that breaks down a bit under further inspection." There's a few of these every year and they all have similar stories. For Martinez, it is that he has a near flawless swing mechanically, but lacks feel for the bat head, fluidity in his swing and in his approach. He looks like he's trying to swing perfectly, not make solid contact. Scouts were openly joking and betting about which part of the infield he'd flyout to when a sidearming, mid 70's righty came in to face him in his 2nd at-bat, and when he ripped a fastball foul in his 3rd at-bat almost all of them commented in unison that it was his best contact of the year.
Granted, that was scouts joking, but it really supported what I saw in this short look and what Callis had said earlier in the week. You'd be surprised how often scouts tip what they think about a player with subtle reactions and comments-usually to each other and only when they already know they share similar opinions on the player. And that is exactly the case on Martinez, the type of guy they all have set opinions on already and have watched extensively, together. First-round picks don't elicit jokes about popping out versus mediocre pitching. Check back tomorrow for the full Harold Martinez report with our draft projection.
Saber Scouting Extensive Scouting Report on Harold Martinez
Harold Martinez of Miami's Braddock High School was the first prospect I saw at the Sarasota Classic and you can find my preliminary thoughts here. His stock is slipping from being in the top 5 among high school players before the season and now he is more of a projection 3B prospect lacking some polish.
Harold Martinez, 3B, Braddock Bulldogs
Tool - Present/Future Grades
Hitting - 40/45
Power - 50/55
Speed - 45/40
Fielding - 50/55
Arm - 55/55
Physical Description - Wiry strong medium-to-large frame. Thin build throughout, sloped shoulders, athletic look, room for 15 lbs or more of muscle. Long limbs lack definition, skinny calves, strong mid-section drives good hip flexibility. Well-proportioned projectable athlete with striking resemblance to Twins OF Carlos Gomez.
Hitting - Mechanically is sound at the plate, however looks like he's trying to have a perfect swing, not make solid contact. Has stiff actions at the plate that lack fluidity and feel, doesn't consistently square the ball up. Shows tendency to drift and swing at bad pitches in this short look. Tries to pull and seems one-dimensional, relying on his good bat speed. Lacks hitability and hits the ball a little too far out front and may have problems identifying spins.
Power - Has hit for power in the past and hit one HR well over the LCF fence later in the tournament. The hip flex in his swing is a little late and lazy and his swing is level enough now that it's pure bat speed creating this power with aluminum. With some weight training and a more leveraged swing, he could be a big power threat, but the lack of looseness in the swing makes me doubt he'll tap into the raw power he'll gain with either a more contact-oriented approach or lots of strikeouts trying to hit the long ball. Inconsistent in applying his power into games.
Speed - The main reason he's projected at 3B. He's somewhat slow-footed given his frame and defensive prowess, slower underway, more of a first step type. Not a base-stealing threat and didn't get a good look at his baserunning ability, but seems to have good instincts in that area.
Fielding - Had buzz early in the season as a potential Gold Glove 3B. I didn't see that today, but the first step is good, the hands are alright, and the actions work on the left side of the infield. Only had a few ground balls to test him and got ahead of himself and booted one of them. Could very well be that guy, but what I saw was the tools to be above-average to plus at 3B, which is nothing to sneeze at.
Arm - Flashes an effortless arm from in the hole that's plenty for 3B and just fine for SS with solid on-line carry and accuracy.
Notes - As mentioned in the early report from the tournament, scouts were openly knocking Martinez's hitability, and one questioned his makeup due to cracking under pressure this season with double-digit scouts at every game. His situation reminds me of Stephen King's (Winter Park HS, Orlando area) in the 2006 Draft. He was shooting up draft boards with his broad base of skills but come draft time, one team I talked to said they didn't buy the bat and wouldn't consider him until the 4th round. Obviously the Nationals believed in the bat and paid him a top 50 pick bonus ($750,000). How many teams would've paid $500,000 or higher and how many wouldn't touch him until the 4th round? No way to know, but I'd guess from the buzz on King that over 1/2 of clubs wouldn't pay $500,000. I don't think Martinez will flame out in Rookie League, but I'd rather take a chance on a player I'm more sure about in rounds 2-3. His upside is still high, I just don't like the indicators I saw in this short look. Come draft time some team will probably do the same with Martinez that Washington did with King, it may even be the Nationals, who focus heavily on upside. Does that mean I, Baseball America, the clubs that like the bat, or the clubs that don't like the bat are right or wrong? We won't know for a few years.
Adjusted Overall Future Potential: 53
Present Group: P, Future Group: C
Projected Role: Solid-Average hitting everyday third baseman with above-average defense, 6th hitter profile
Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round for teams that like the bat, 3rd-5th round for teams that don't like the bat
Overall Comparison: Upside is taller Adrian Beltre, more conservatively Pedro Feliz.
Aflac All-American HS Baseball Classic Info/Report
SCOUTING REPORT: A skilled player on both sides of the game, Martinez shows plus defensive ability with a strong arm in the infield and can also change games with his power and sweet swing at the plate.
2007: Martinez completed his third straight season as a starting infielder for Braddock High. Braddock lost in the district semifinals to Coral Park High. He was selected as a second-team all-Dade County player.
2006: Martinez was chosen to the second-team all-Dade County squad following a strong sophomore season at Braddock High. Martinez was one of 18 players age 16-and-under to be chosen to represent the country at the 2006 Pan Am Championships in Venezuela. He batted .364 for the youth national team, starting all nine games. West catcher Kyle Skipworth is the only other Aflac All-American who played on the '06 youth team.
Baseball Factory Info:
Grad Year: 2008
High School: G. Holmes Braddock
More of Harold ...Harold is a shortstop and rising senior at G. Holmes Braddock Senior High School in Miami, Florida. This past season, Harold hit .500 and his team finished up the season with a 21-7 record. Harold models his game after Alex Rodriguez and hopes to also play in the Major Leagues one day. Harold was recently featured in Sports Illustrated's "Where Will They Be" segment. He considers his biggest baseball strong point to be his arm strength but hopes to become an overall faster player. The highlight of his baseball career was winning the Gold Medal at the 2006 Pan Am games. Harold has verbally committed to the University of Miami and will begin his college career next fall.
MLB's draft report on him
Player Name: Harold Martinez
School: Braddock HS (Fla.)
School Type: High school
Academic Class: Senior
Weight: 185 lbs.
Report Date(s): 03/31 - 04/02/08
Game(s): Sarasota Classic
Focus Area Comments
Hitting Ability: Martinez lacks confidence at the plate. He's got a good setup, but the bat drags through the zone and his pitch recognition is bad.
Power: When he squares up, he's got pop, but how consistently will he do that? His raw power grades as above average, but will it play?
Running Speed: He has below-average speed.
Base running: He's aggressive on the bases, so he's not a clogger, though he more station-to-station than anything else.
Arm Strength: He has a plus, plus arm.
Fielding: A bad defensive posture, not being set as the ball crosses the plate has limited him somewhat. Many see him as a third baseman in the future.
Range: His below-average range is made worse by the aforementioned setup.
Physical Description: Martinez has the future big league body, a frame some can dream about, though he doesn't seem that strong core-wise.
Medical Update: Healthy.
Strengths: The plus arm and above-average raw power. He also looks
the part and has a good baseball body.
Weaknesses: How he looks and how he performs have been two different things. He has struggled for most of the year.
Summary: Martinez certainly looks the part of a future pro player with a good, athletic baseball body. He entered the season with plenty of expectations and hasn't lived up to them as performance hasn't met what many thought his potential will be. Someone dreaming about his projections will likely take a chance on him, but the question is whether it will be early enough to keep him from going to Miami.