2008 Cardinals Prospect #7 – Jose Martinez

After a partial season of .300 hitting in Double-A, the 21-year-old shortstop jumped from number 30 to number seven on this list. Will he remain at the position or move to second base?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to 2007 and career stats)

2007 Ranking: 30

Position: SS

DOB: 1/24/1986

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 175

Bats: R

Throws: R

School: Carabobo, Venezuela

Became a Cardinal: Signed as a non-drafted free agent on December 15, 2004.

2007 stats

Tm

AVG

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

OBP

SLG

OPS

PB

0.248

226

22

56

9

1

2

19

10

20

4

0.285

0.323

0.608

SPR

0.300

250

37

75

13

0

10

46

14

24

0

0.339

0.472

0.811

Tot

0.275

476

59

131

22

1

12

65

24

44

4

0.314

0.401

0.715

Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (10): Martinez vaulted from the 30th-ranked prospect in 2006 to seventh this season. The 21-year-old put together a solid season split between high-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield. In fact his offensive numbers at Springfield (.300/.339/.472/.811 in 250 at bats, .301 BABIP) were much better than those at Palm Beach (.248/.285/.323/.608 in 226 at bats, .265 BABIP).

Defensively, Martinez has good hands and reportedly positions himself well but questions remain on whether he can ultimately stick at short due to his range. More likely, Martinez slides over to second base or winds up in the utility role.

Dustin Mattison (7): After struggling in the early going at Palm Beach, the Cardinals were forced to promote Martinez to Springfield after Tyler Greene went down with a knee injury. Martinez showed he belonged in the Texas League by hitting .300/.339/.472 in 66 games. That included 10 home runs and 13 doubles while striking out only 24 times in 250 at bats. With that great bat control, Martinez has drawn comparisons to former Cardinal Placido Polanco.

Martinez is a solid defender with average range. Scouts believe he will need to move over to second in the Majors but I am not ready to take him off of shortstop just yet. He may not be a Gold Glover at short but he will not kill you with his steady glove and soft hands. He is an average runner on the bases; he won't steal many bases yet he will not clog up the base paths, either.

Ray Mileur (12): After two years finishing at #30 in our rankings, Martinez breaks into our top 10 this year at #7. I wrote two seasons back that I expected Martinez to be one of our Top 10 prospects by last season, but I have to admit I was beginning to have some doubt.

He looked very sharp at spring training, but his play when the season started at Palm Beach was nothing to write home about. But a promotion to Double-A Springfield and finding himself in the middle of a Texas League pennant race, Martinez turned it on, hitting .300/.339/.472 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI in just 66 games at Double-A. Projected as a potential everyday shortstop at the major league level, Martinez's future may actually be at second base.

Brian Walton (10): I am proud to note that I rated Martinez at number 17 in the Cardinals system at this time last year when my peers still had him in the 30's. My reasoning in aggressively ranking Martinez then has only been strengthened by his solid 2007 season, as noted by my peers above.

At 21 years of age, 250 at-bats of .300/.339/.472 ball while striking out less than once in every ten plate appearances in Double-A reinforces Martinez' reputation as a youngster with plate discipline and ability to consistently hit for average. While his arm is just average, it may be enough to eventually push him to second base. That certainly would not be a tragedy. While others talk up Jarrett Hoffpauir, I continue to assert that I'd rather have Martinez.

Key: NR = not ranked, NA = not applicable

To see our entire list of 40 prospects as they are unveiled daily, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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