- Full name José Alberto Martínez
- Born 07/25/1988 in La Guaira, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 6'6" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 09/06/2016
Organization Prospect Rankings
The most unexpected season in the minors had to belong to Jose "Cafecito" Martinez. The Royals signed him as a minor league free agent largely because Royals farm director Ronnie Richardson had been impressed with Martinez's makeup from their time together in the Braves' organization. Ticketed for Double-A, Martinez made his Triple-A debut instead when Paulo Orlando made the big league roster. He set a modern-day Pacific Coast League record with a .384 batting average, leading the minors in batting average and on-base percentage (.461). The season may seem flukish, but Martinez was among the Royals' leaders in hard-hit percentage all year and he is a one-time significant prospect--he was the White Sox' No. 7 prospect way back in 2007. Martinez has a smooth, flat, line-drive swing. He also has 10-12 home run power. With that kind of power, he's going have to prove he's a plus hitter at least to be a big leaguer, as he is an average defender in left or right field with a tick-above average arm that was once plus. The Royals added Martinez to the 40-man roster so they are willing to give him a shot to prove last year wasn't a fluke.
Martinez flashed five-tool potential when he made his U.S. debut in 2007, but his body never filled out as expected and a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 2008 cost him valuable repetitions and some speed. The son of the late White Sox outfielder Carlos Martinez, Jose still catches the eye of scouts. His signature tool is his strong arm, which plays well in right field and resulted in 15 assists last year. He shows off his arm too much, however, which led to 14 errors. Martinez needs to settle down at the plate, too. He makes consistent contact thanks to his bat speed, but he doesn't walk much or make the most of his gap power because he lacks patience. He might top out at 10-15 homers annually because his swing is fairly flat. Martinez has a lost a step and now has fringy speed, though he does cover enough ground in the outfield. Ticketed to start 2012 back in Birmingham, he most realistically projects as a fourth outfielder.
A well-built package of potential, Martinez hopes to reacquaint himself with the diamond this season. He has played just 104 games over the last three seasons, missing all of last season and most of 2008 due to problems with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. He injured the knee early in 2008 and required microfracture surgery to repair the damage, resulting in an extended recovery. The son of the late Carlos Martinez, a former corner infielder for the White Sox, Jose was a productive hitter as a 17-year-old in the Rookie-level Venezuelan Summer League in 2006 and has shown the ability to be a run-producer everywhere he has played. He generates impressive bat speed from a swing that can get long at times, and he uses his size and strength to put on shows in batting practice. He had good speed before his surgeries but no longer projects to be a basestealer. He has good range in the outfield and enough arm for right field, which has been his primary position. The White Sox aren't giving up on him, in part because they appreciate his work ethic, and he'll probably return to Kannapolis to get his career going again.
A classic toolsy prospect with a high ceiling, Martinez has spent about half his short pro career in extended spring training and in the training room, playing only 104 games in his first two full years as a pro. He had found his stride in low Class A, raising his average from .180 to .306 over the course of a month, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Surgery ended his season but he's expected to be ready for the start of the 2009 season. Martinez's body hasn't matured yet, but he looks like a Juan Gonzalez starter kit. He can put on a show in batting practice with power to all fields, and his quick bat also should give him the ability to hit for some average. He's a free swinger and will have to show more discipline as he moves up the ladder, however. Martinez is raw in other phases of the game as well. While he has plus speed, he's still refining his basestealing ability. He has the range for center field but has spent most of his career in right field, and he has the arm for that position. Martinez has impressed the White Sox with his makeup and work ethic, which should help him in his recovery. He's the son of former Sox infielder Carlos Martinez, and the brother of outfielder Teodoro Martinez, who signed with the Rangers in August.
Like Fautino de los Santos, Martinez made an early impact in his first season in the United States. He benefited from opening in 2007 in extended spring training before showing signs that he could develop into a complete outfielder. He wore down late in the summer at Rookie-level Bristol. Martinez is a good athlete with a body reminiscent of a young Juan Gonzalez. Martinez has shown the skills to hit for average but is most intriguing to scouts in batting practice, when he displays his power potential. He has a lot of room to add strength as his body matures, making it easy to see him as a middle-of-the-order hitter. He runs well, stealing 12 bases in 14 tries last season, and is a solid outfielder. He has a plus arm that plays well in right field and he also covers enough ground to play center. Martinez is a raw package of skills. He was willing to use the whole field against righthanders but often looked to pull lefties, getting himself out on bad pitches. His plate discipline is encouraging for his age but he still strikes out too much. As he fills out, he'll slow down and most likely lose his ability to play center field. Martinez should be ready for low Class A at age 19. He's not nearly as polished as Ryan Sweeney or Chris Getz, but he has a higher ceiling.
Minor League Top Prospects
The White Sox system contains very few position players of promise, and Martinez has more upside than most of them. He has the room to add much more strength to his 6-foot-5, 170-pound frame, making it easy to project him attaining above-average power. He can put on a show in batting practice, though he tends to overswing in games. Martinez has athleticism as well. He has good speed and stole 12 bases in 14 attempts. He tracks the ball well and has a plus arm in right field, and he also saw some action in center.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Chicago White Sox in 2013
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Chicago White Sox in 2012
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Chicago White Sox in 2011
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Chicago White Sox in 2008