Keith Law’s annual pre-season review of minor league systems and the best young players in the game started last week. Law ranked the Cubs as having the No. 4 farm system in baseball with six players in his top 100 prospect list. Every year Law goes just a little deeper beyond the top 100 minor leaguers with a report focused on the players that just missed his pre-season ranking.
Law’s prospect list included six players from the Cubs’ system: SS Gleyber Torres (15), C Willson Contreras (27), 2B/OF Ian Happ (47), OF Billy McKinney (69), OF Albert Almora Jr. (88) and RHP Dylan Cease (91).
And one of the 10 players that were unable to crack Law’s Top 100 is OF Eddy Julio Martinez.
The Cubs signed OF Eddy Julio Martinez in October for $3 million. It appeared the Giants were going to land the highly touted prospect for $2.5 million due to confusion with the paperwork and two different sets of agents. MLB ruled in favor of the Cubs in the dispute and Martinez was added to the system, and immediately entered the Cubs top 30 prospect list.
Keith Law, like many at the time, thought Martinez would end up with a signing bonus of around $10 million. Law is not sure why Martinez signed for what he did. What Law, Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America are sure of is the talent the 21-year old Cuban outfielder possesses.
Law said Martinez “is a toolshed, with great bat speed, raw power and plus speed.” Martinez has not played since he was 19 which could delay where he starts the upcoming season. Law pointed out that he could be ready for High-A ball but until the Cubs get him into camp, they are not sure where he will start the 2016 campaign.
Team officials John Manuel talked to about Martinez think a likely starting point for him in affiliated ball this year will be Low-A South Bend, which could give the SB Cubs an incredibly exciting and athletic outfield. Eloy Jimenez and Donnie Dewees should be part of South Bend’s outfield on Opening Day. Martinez could begin the season in extended Spring Training before eventually reporting to South Bend.
According to Keith Law, Martinez has “the tools of a top-50 or even top-25 prospect” but he has to get on the field first to see how the tools work together.
The Cubs feel he is a centerfielder. According to Baseball America, Martinez has plus speed with above-average arm strength. Offensively he showed “line-drive pop and contact ability” in workouts leading up to him signing with the team.
Martinez garnered a lot of attention from numerous teams before eventually signing with the Cubs. Scouts believe Martinez could make an impact at the Major League level one day. The reports on Martinez have been very positive. It will be interesting to see if Martinez does have the tools to one day reach the projections once he gets back on the field this spring.
Eddy Julio Martinez is one of many prospects that will be of great interest to the fan base and media throughout the upcoming season.