Before we begin, let me point out that Brian Hemminger and I are now talking prospects on a weekly basis thanks to the return of Indians on Deck.
I know that the podcast is on, like, every page, but once you see whatever video SBNation is hawking that’s your clear sign to jump all the way past the outbrain ad section. So here it is. Here.
Martinez came to my attention in June of 2019 thanks to a torrid stretch in the middle of the month when he hit .522/.593/.783, including two doubles, two triples, and four stolen bases. That kind of production will get anyone’s attention over a week-long stretch, but how did he fare for a year in the Dominican Summer League? Slashing .306/.402/.428. Oh, and at 17, he was a year younger than the average DSL player.
The 2018 international class signee plays infield. During 2019 he played third, second, and short. It is not clear to me where he will ultimately end up, but the versatility and talent suggested by his handling of all three is a plus. Did I mention that he switch hits? What this? Another switch-hitting infielder who can essentially play any position? And with great contact numbers?!
It’s obvious that Cleveland thinks that they are on to something. I would not be surprised if Martinez is the next of the bunch to slowly climb the national prospect rankings. For what it is worth, Todd Paquette of @IndiansPro ranked (before the Lindor trade) Martinez as the fourth-best shortstop in a system loaded with them, trailing Tyler Freeman, Brayan Rocchio, and Gabriel Rodriguez.
Here’s a sneak peek at what Martinez has been up to this offseason.
#Indians switch hitting (SS) prospect Angel Martinez getting ready for spring training at home in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Martinez just celebrated his 19th birthday on Wednesday. Curious to see if the organization has him start 2021 in the AZL or w/ (Low A) Lynchburg. pic.twitter.com/AltcUY13vc— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) January 30, 2021
But who is next?!
Tanner Burns, RHP (Age 22)
Cleveland 2020 1st round MLB draft competitive balance pick
A prototypical Cleveland college pitcher draft pick who possesses great strikeout ability combined with excellent control. Could be a quick mover in the system.
Isaiah Greene, OF (Age 19)
Mets 2020 second-round MLB draft pick
An elite outfield defender with a cannon arm and power potential, Greene was a top 50 prospect in the 2020 MLB draft. Scouts believe he could be great if he improves his contact.
Petey Halpin, OF (Age 18)
Cleveland 2020 third round MLB draft pick
Wiry left-handed hitting outfielder with sneaky pop, good speed, arm and solid contact skills that could develop into more.
Sam Hentges, LHP (Age 24)
2019 (AA): 26 GS, 128.2 IP, 21.4 K%, 10.9 BB%, 5.11 ERA, 3.84 FIP
After an underwhelming 2019 season in Double-A as a starting pitcher, Hentges opened eyes by hitting 100 mph in intersquad games in 2020, which could turn the southpaw into a huge weapon out of the bullpen in 2021.
Gabriel Rodriguez, 3B (Age 18)
2019 (DSL): 170 PA, .238/.335/.406, 3 HR, 3 SB, 8.8 BB%, 15.9 K%, 106 wRC+
2019 (AZL): 73 PA, .215/.288/.262, 0 HR, 1 SB, 5.5 BB%, 30.1 K%, 59 wRC+
The top international signing by Cleveland in 2018, Rodriguez is already physically mature to the point where he had to be moved to third base. Has the potential to be a big-time home run hitter as an infielder.
Carson Tucker, SS (Age 18)
Cleveland 2020 1st round MLB draft pick
The younger brother of Pirates MLB player Cole Tucker, Carson possesses plus speed and sprays hits to all fields, but has yet to debut in the minor leagues.
Lenny Torres, RHP (Age 20)
2018 (AZL): 5 GS, 15.1 IP, 34.9 K%, 6.4 BB%, 1.76 ERA, 2.38 FIP
The most impressive prep arm in the 2018 AZL, Torres missed the entire 2019 season with Tommy John surgery, but is back on the mound, briefly appearing in the fall instructional league in 2020.
Carlos Vargas, RHP (Age 21)
2019 (A-): 15 GS, 77.2. IP, 21.9 K%, 7.4 BB%, 4.52 ERA, 3.36 FIP
Flamethrowing right-handed starter who can approach triple digits with a low 90s slider. Was added to Cleveland’s 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.
Josh Wolf, RHP (Age 20)
2019 (R): 5 GS, 8.0 IP, 36.4 K%, 3.0 BB%, 3.38 ERA, 1.37 FIP, 58 strikes, 11 balls.
With a fastball and curveball that rate as plus pitches and rookie league velocity that touched 94 MPH, the recent trade acquisition looks right at home in the Cleveland system.
Nick Sandlin, RHP (Age 24)
2019 (AA): 17.1 IP, 36 K%, 10.7 BB%, 1.56 ERA, 3.46 FIP
2019 (AAA): 9.0 IP, 29.7 K%, 18.9 BB%, 6.40 ERA, 6.40 FIP
Sandlin hopped aboard the Cody Allen Express after being drafted in 2018. He rocketed to Double-A that year, then picked back up there and finished in Columbus with some hard learning. If not for the pandemic I’m fairly convinced we’d be talking about him along with Wittgren et al.
Who should be Cleveland’s No. 18 Prospect?
This poll is closed