In June, Jeremy Martinez left one “SC” behind for another. The junior catcher gave up his senior season at the University of Southern California to join the St. Louis Cardinals organization. The first stop as a professional for the fourth-round draft pick is the State College Spikes of the short-season Class-A New York-Penn League.
St. Louis’ first college hitter taken in this draft was also the first college hitter selected by new Cardinals scouting director Randy Flores. Martinez knew Flores from when the latter was finishing up his studies at SC, a task Martinez will also take on once the 2016 baseball season concludes.
Still just 21 years of age until December, Martinez opened the season in a job-share with since-promoted Chris Rivera. Ryan McCarvel also seeing time at first base has opened up a more regular spot behind the plate for manager Johnny Rodriguez’ Spikes.
Offensively, Martinez has been extremely solid, including recently, with five two-hit games in his last six starts. Martinez leads the Spikes in batting average, is second in on-base percentage and third in OPS. His slash line through 26 games is .347/.446/.427/.872 to go with 15 RBI. Consistent with his history, the right-handed batter has more walks, 15, than strikeouts, nine.
In the following exclusive interview, Martinez discusses being drafted out of high school by the Cubs, his time at USC, adapting to pro ball as a hitter and a catcher, his Pac-12 ex-rival roommate and much more.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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