I’ve gone out of my way to praise the first two of the three position player selections in this year’s Rule 5 Draft, and I usually have ended up liking or OK’ing the selections of most Triple-A players.
However, fifteenth selection Michael Martinez falls into both of those categories, yet he gives me pause.
The thinking here is the same thinking that led to the selections of Josh Rodriguez and Brad Emaus earlier in the draft: “Hey! Here’s a big-league-ready utilityman! Let’s get him!”
Two things separate Martinez from Emaus and Rodriguez, however.
First is age: he’s 28 and largely done developing, which is a big deal. Emaus, especially, has some growth left, making him more likely to improve beyond his present state.
That brings me to the second problem: Martinez is nowhere near the hitter that Rodriguez or Emaus is. We’re talking about a guy who hit .253/.298/.393 in Double-A this year at age 28. He almost never walks, doesn’t boast plus power, and is merely an average contact hitter and basestealer.
Yes, he’s a versatile defender, but there’s a very strong chance that Martinez hits an empty .220 in the majors next year, which just doesn’t cut it unless you’ve got Ozzie Smith’s glove.
Do I understand the rationale? Yes. Still don’t like it.