- Full name Rodolfo Martinez
- Born 04/04/1994 in Jubey, Boca Chica, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: R / Throws: R
Organization Prospect Rankings
Blessed with one of the best arms in baseball but with little idea yet of how to use it, Martinez needs plenty of innings. That makes the oblique injury that wiped out most of his 2017 season especially frustrating. That means Martinez he will enter 2018 no closer to realizing his potential. Martinez didn't enter pro ball until he was 20. The late bloomer has touched 102 mph in the past, but was generally 94-98 mph when healthy in 2017--he never got fully stretched out enough to reach triple digits regularly. Martinez's fastball may be plus-plus at its best, but his below-average changeup and slider are hitters' best friends. He has started to throw his secondary pitches for strikes, but he still slows his arm to telegraph his changeup and his slider doesn't have much break. Martinez could develop into a useful big league reliever, but he needs time and innings to get there. Martinez should head back to Double-A in 2018 as he continues to try to find a second pitch.
Martinez served as closer in a dominant one-two combo with Reyes Moronta in the high Class A San Jose bullpen during the first half of 2016. Martinez was so dominant that the Giants bumped him to Double-A Richmond, but that proved to be a step too far. He struggled immediately after his promotion, then got into the bad habit of trying to do more to get out of trouble. He started overthrowing, and his delivery fell apart. Martinez composed himself in instructional league but fell into the same bad habits during a brief Arizona Fall League stint and was shut down. Martinez's fastball is exceptional. He has touched 102 mph, but he's most effective when he looks like he's lobbing the ball to the plate at 98-99. With Martinez, increased effort in his delivery usually comes with less movement and control. His 86-88 mph slider and his 86-88 mph changeup are both below-average pitches that need further refinement, but with his arm speed he has closer potential. He returns to Double-A in 2017.
Martinez was one of the older players in the 2013 international class to land a six figure bonus. Even though he would turn 20 before he made his pro debut, he signed for $350,000 because the Giants loved his power arm. Martinez made his debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2014, an aggressive assignment brought about in part because of his age, but he proved to be in over his head. It's hard to find much encouraging in his performance, but scouts saw a lot to like. Martinez showed a plus 91-97 mph fastball, a promising slider and the makings of a useable changeup. He needs to find the strike zone to let his plus stuff play, but Martinez is one of the more promising young arms in the system.
Minor League Top Prospects
Martinez ran away with the best reliever and best fastball category wins in Best Tools balloting, and his heater can reach 101 mph. Martinez's fastball consistently sits 98-99 mph, and it was enough to make him by far the league's most intimidating closer. Using that pitch almost exclusively, he recorded an 0.88 ERA in 32 appearances with 24 saves before being promoted to Double-A Richmond in late June. "He's a power guy on the bump who came right at you," Bakersfield manager Eddie Menchaca said. "That's what you want to see from guys that powerful. You want guys who aren't wasting any time, and he didn't waste any time. He came right at you and he knew he was going to beat you with his fastball and pitched well." Martinez's main shortcoming is his lack of a quality secondary pitch. His 85-88 mph slider lacks control, and he slows his arm down when delivering his changeup, both of which caused him problems in Double-A against more advanced hitters, who roughed him up for a 6.65 ERA and .315 opponent average. Martinez's development of a secondary pitch will determine if he reaches his closer potential.