HT: 6-3 WT: 240 POS: 1B
Aberdeen Ironbirds (65 G, 230 AB, .296/.364/.404)
Drafted by the Orioles in the 11th round of the 2006 draft, Martinez is better known as the former backup quarterback for the University of Virginia. He didn't see a ton of playing time for the baseball team and ended up transferring to Louisburg College for his senior year. Martinez's selection was in the draft was largely a bet on his raw power and, obviously, some degree of athleticism.
Martinez's calling card is his raw power, which he taps into with raw strength and an upper-cut swing. He put on shows duing extended spring training, at least when he was seeing fastballs. Earlier this season, Director of Scouting Joe Jordan told ITW "Anthony has got good raw power, but tonight [August 16] is a good example. He’s gotten himself out outside the strike zone. You have to make pitchers throw strikes..."
Although his approach didn't change much, Martinez did start to put it together in the second half. He batted .395/.430/.547 in his final 83 at bats this season. He still has a ton of work to do with his pitch recognition and he is unlikely to maintain a ~.300 batting average in the upper minors unless he makes adjustments. Martinez also fared much better against left-handers, which is not uncommon for a player with his shortcomings.
Despite his size, Martinez showed some agility around the bag. Some observers weren't thrilled with the attention he paid to his defense and his strong arm is mostly wasted at first base. He's not going to move to the outfield, so it's starter or bust for Martinez.
As a 23 year old, right-handed first baseman who has yet to make his full-season debut, Martinez has some serious strikes against him. The Orioles knew they were going to have to be patient with him when they drafted him and they feel his offensive potential could one day justify their patience. Martinez will start 2008 in low-A, but if he shows up in good shape and carries over his improvements from the end of this season, he could be fast-tracked.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via e-mail at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com