Tigers Scouting Report #39 Francisco Martinez

After being a key piece of the trade that brought Doug Fister to Detroit, the Mariners let Francisco Martinez go after he failed in the outfield for the club, and the Tigers brought him back, returning him to his original home at third base. Can that help him regain his prior form that made him a top ten prospect in the organization?

Francisco Martinez

Vitals

Position: Third Baseman
Date of Birth: 9/1/1990 (2014 Opening Day Age: 23)
Height/Weight: 6-2/210
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2007
Ranking History: #36 (2008), #13 (2009), #41 (2010), #4 (2011), #39 (2014)

Background: Originally signed by the Tigers in 2007, Martinez was traded to the Mariners as part of the package that brought Doug Fister to Detroit. Martinez struggled for nearly two full seasons in the Mariners organization after being moved to the outfield. He was re-acquired by the Tigers after the Mariners designated him for assignment in 2013.

Performance:

2013 Stats - Hitting
TEAMABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSBAOBPSLG
Lakeland 28838851313282155113.295.347.378


Scouting Report

Body: Long, athletic build; wiry strength; has bulked up some since original departure from organization; maintains above-average to plus athleticism; very long arms and legs; huge hands; extreme physical projection from early in career has partially come to fruition; coordination has improved with maturity; very good body; looks the part.

Hit: Lots of movement in the box; inconsistent load that has been a problem dating back to early part of career; leg kick is not the same from one pitch to the next, resulting in timing issues; frequently overstrides when he attacks, getting under the ball and not ending in solid contact; has idea of the strike zone; can lay off FB out of his hitting zone; occasionally stays on CH; struggles with all spin and will expand zone to chase it; has hit potential but still raw with hitting mechanics and approach; needs a developmental step to get beyond below-average projection. Grade – Present 3/Future 4

Power: Good strength; plus bat speed; doesn't let power come naturally and sells out at times; more of a line drive stroke without lift for over-the-fence power; developmental needs with hit tool leave power in batting practice; extra-base hits will manifest in doubles, particularly when he stays within ability and works gap to gap; can turn on some balls and drive from CF to LF line; potential for 10-15 home runs at peak, but that will require development of hit tool beyond current projection. Grade – 3+/4

Speed: Has slowed with physical maturation; previously plus runner down the line; more consistently average to solid-average; speed plays up with instincts for base running; surprising factor in overall game; should maintain present speed given athleticism and current physicality. Grade – 5+/5+

Defense: Raw after moving back to third base from outfield; still athletically gifted enough to make it work at third base; moves well laterally; has quickness to charge the ball; still gets caught in between hops too often; lets the ball play him; hands are outstanding; soft with good feel for cradling the ball and transferring to throwing hand; can get sloppy and inconsistent; focus needs to improve and become consistent part of his defensive game; potential average to solid-average defender if all feel returns with move back to the position. Grade – 4/5

Arm: Good natural arm strength; arm action gets a little long for the infield but can make up for it with velocity; footwork has to improve and catch up to arm; accuracy can be a problem due to footwork; plus arm that currently plays down a grade; should be plus long term. Grade – 5/6

Other: Good natural arm strength; arm action gets a little long for the infield but can make up for it with velocity; footwork has to improve and catch up to arm; accuracy can be a problem due to footwork; plus arm that currently plays down a grade; should be plus long term.

Final Word

Summary: Profile that is built on athleticism and raw tools; hit and power have potential to exceed projection in his report, though highly unlikely; defense plays better at third base than in outfield; potential quality glove with strong arm once he settles back in; speed is surprising element of game; can steal 20+ bases a year; strong makeup and work ethic give subpar tools a chance to make progress.

Risk: High risk; Offensive game requires at least single grade jumps at late developmental stage; still more tools/projection than production, even after extensive Double-A experience.

Projection: Currently profiles as a bench player or up-and-down guy with some versatility between infield and outfield; raw offensive game could take off if things click, resulting in a drastic change to profile; potential for this change elevates rating; major developmental steps forward are difficult to envision at this point; potential MLB option (likely as a reserve) in 2015 if needs arise and tools transition to the field.

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