The rumors of a Julio Pablo Martinez signing first eked their way to the public in early March. While there was an agreement between the Cuban free agent and the Rangers during Spring Training, the deal was not made official until Thursday. Texas had been seen as the favorites to land the young outfielder due in large part to their surplus of international bonus pool money and their reputation in the market. The Rangers are one of the top organizations at landing and developing international talent and now, they have another potential stud in the system.
#Rangers announce signing of Cuban OF Julio Pablo Martinez, say he has reported to their Dominican academy & is expected to start in the Dominican Summer League. No. 3 on the @Rangers‘ Top 30 Prospects list (@MLB No. 70): https://t.co/Ebz4rwZojI pic.twitter.com/itqqWLrIGB
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 19, 2018
Tools-wise, Martinez posses enough raw talent in each category to turn into a five tool guy after a little more development. He already handles the bat well in terms of contact and the sheer athleticism makes him a threat on the base paths as well as in center field. If you just looked at him, you would think I was lying when I told you the power and arm strength are there as well. No one could blame you. At just 5’8 160 pounds, Martinez is not an imposing figure. Despite the lack of size, the potential is there for both tools to become even more advanced.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the signing is Martinez’s proven track record to show his skills against players in Cuba’s best league. On top of that, he has always been much younger than his competition. During his time in the Cuban National Series, Martinez was 10 years younger than the average player in the league. Having a decade less of experience didn’t stop Martinez from slashing .293/.393/.430 with 23 home runs, and 45 stolen bases in 1,184 career plate appearances. From there, the now 22-year-old went to the Can-Am League where he hit eight homers and swiped 24 bags in just 343 plate appearances, this time while being more than six years younger than the average player in the league.
It will be very intriguing watching the progression of the young outfielder. Martinez is set to start in the Dominican Summer League with the Rangers DSL squad number one. Their first game will be on June 2nd. I think the stint in foreign ball will be short for the club’s newest prospect as many have tabbed his talent level to be more in the mid-minors range as opposed to rookie ball. Don’t be surprised to see him make his way state side and then as high as Frisco before 2018 is even over.
With the addition of Martinez, the Rangers now have four outfielders near the top of their prospect rankings. While Willie Calhoun, Leody Taveras, Bubba Thompson, and Martinez are all at different spots in their development timeline, it sure does give Rangers fans something to be excited for. Calhoun seems destined for left, but Taveras, Thompson, and Martinez all have the ability to play center. The outfields of the Rangers affiliates should be worth keeping close tabs on over the next couple of seasons.
Article featured image of Julio Pablo Martinez – courtesy MLB.com