Orlando Martinez Strives For Repeatability
As the pitcher lifts his front leg before pushing off the mound, Orlando Martinez lifts his front leg in the batter’s box. The 23-year-old outfielder's leg kick virtually mirrors that of the opposing pitcher in height and stride.
It’s a timing mechanism that bears a striking resemblance to Angels first baseman Jared Walsh, who rose from 39th-round pick out of Georgia in 2015 to become one of baseball’s most productive hitters, but it’s also one that can be extremely difficult to repeat.
“It takes work to make moves like that repeatable,” Angels minor league field coordinator Chad Tracy said. “Everyone is after repeatable because that’s what leads to consistency. Walshy had to condense some of his stuff last year to make it shorter and more repeatable.”
The lefthanded-hitting Martinez, who played for Cuba’s 18U national team in 2016 and signed with the Angels for $250,000 in 2017, seems to have found a more comfortable setup and stance, and a more aggressive approach has led to more swings on balls in hittable areas of the strike zone.
Martinez hit three home runs and a double and drove in six runs in his fourth game of the season for Double-A Rocket City, and through 48 games he was hitting .259/.312/.471 with 10 home runs.
The biggest blemish on his 2021 statistical line was his high strikeout (65) and low walk (14) totals.
“The aggressiveness has led to more pull-side (contact) in the air, and he has juice over there,” Tracy said. “It has also led to some additional chase and miss at times. Finding the happy medium between being aggressive, but also hunting in specific areas of the zone, is his next challenge.”
Martinez, who can play all three outfield spots, is an average runner, but he gets great jumps off the bat and runs efficient routes, which allow him to get to more balls in the gaps.
He projected more as an extra outfielder entering this season, but if he continues to hit for more power and make more consistent contact, he could develop into a starter.
— Lefthander Reid Detmers, the 10th overall pick out of Louisville in 2020, threw an immaculate inning—nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts—as part of a six-inning, 14-strikeout effort against Biloxi on June 20. Through 10 starts, he had recorded a 3.91 ERA and struck out 84 and walking 17 in 46 innings.
— Cooper Criswell, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound righthander who was the 13th-round pick out of North Carolina in 2018, was named Double-A South pitcher of the week on June 21 for striking out 14 in a 6.2-inning start against Biloxi on June 16.