Fernando Martinez would be a star outfielder in Flushing
For several years in the mid-2000s, one Mets prospect was indisputably more “untouchable” than anyone else in the organization: Fernando Martinez. The Mets signed him in 2005 as an amateur free agent, and within two years he was ranked among the top 25 prospects in all of baseball by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. He was also the Mets’ top prospect in both 2007 and 2008. Martinez was a prized possession that many in the organization believed would be the best homegrown outfielder to suit up in Queens since Darryl Strawberry.
After making his major league debut on May 26, 2009, it became apparent that the 20-year-old might have already peaked. He made only 100 plate appearances in his rookie season, batting just .176, before suffering a torn meniscus that ended his season in July. More injuries limited his Mets playing time to just 18 games over the next two seasons, during which he hit an even .200. After the 2011 season, the Mets placed the once-untouchable Martinez on waivers, and he was claimed by the Astros shortly thereafter.
Martinez appeared in 52 games for the Astros as a bench bat in 2012 and 2013. He was then traded to the Yankees, and just when it looked like he might have a chance to revive his New York baseball career, he was suspended due to his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. To date, Martinez has never appeared in another major league game.
It is always a shame when top prospects don’t pan out. Clearly, despite the glowing scouting reports and impressive numbers throughout the minor leagues, Martinez did not quite have all the tools to succeed at the major league level.