2011 Season in Review: Fernando Martinez

By Unknown author

The New York Mets as a whole went 77-85 in 2011. As suggested by the sub-par record, there were a fair share of ups and downs throughout the season. “2011 Season in Review,” which will be an on-going series, will analysis every single Mets player that picked up a ball or glove in 2011, for better or worse. This particular “2011 Season in Review” will take a look at outfielder, Fernando Martinez.

Back in 2005, the Mets signed a young outfielder by the name of Fernando Martinez.  At the tender age of sixteen, Martinez was heralded as the next great Mets outfielder; a reason to hope for the future.  Since then, it seems like Mets fans have been hearing about Martinez as he’s plodded through the system.  Finally, in 2009, F-Mart made his big league debut, and fell flat on his face.  He received another short stint in 2010, which wasn’t any better.  All the while, Martinez has battled injuries nearly every season, hampering his development.  Such was the case in 2011.

Martinez only played in 11 games at the Major League level this year over two stints, taking the roster spot of players who landed on the disabled list.  Only four of those appearances were starts, and he only recorded 23 plate appearances, so this year’s sample size is very small.  F-Mart recorded five hits in 2011, including two doubles and a homer, walking once and striking out seven times.  The long ball was a pinch-hit shot against the Astros in Houston which helped the team rally from behind.

The fact that Martinez didn’t receive a lot of playing time in the bigs isn’t that concerning, since the plan going into this year was to have him spend most of it at triple-A Buffalo.  The bigger concern was that injuries continued to sideline the former top prospect the entire season, including a hamstring strain in April, knee soreness in June, and a left wrist strain in August, which ended his year.  For such a young player, the volume of injuries is disconcerting, especially the leg troubles.

When he was in the lineup, however, Martinez did OK.  In 250 plate appearances with the Bisons, Martinez batted .260/.329/.417 with eight homers, 18 walks and 60 strikeouts.  Considering all the starting and stopping, that line is somewhat acceptable, although the plate discipline needs work.  F-Mart has power, and while he probably won’t hit 30 homers in the Majors, he could be good for 20.

So what is next for F-Mart? In an ideal world, he would’ve spent most of the year at Buffalo, healthy and getting plate appearances, and then received consistent playing time with the Mets as their season drew to a close.  Since that wasn’t the case, it seems likely that Martinez will begin his fourth season in Buffalo at the age of 23 (although to be fair, none of those seasons have been full ones).  But what about long term?  Given his chronic leg problems, F-Mart isn’t a candidate to replace Angel Pagan in center.  With Jason Bay locked into left field and Lucas Duda seemingly next year’s starting right fielder, Martinez is going to have to either hit like crazy or serve as an injury replacement in order to see significant playing time next year.

It seems like Martinez has been around forever, and yet he only has registered 145 Major League plate appearances.  At this point, it doesn’t seem like he will develop into the hitting stud which he was once projected, but that doesn’t mean he should be written off completely.  There is still time for F-Mart to home his raw talent and become a productive player at the Major League level.