Will Fernando Martinez Ever Get a Chance With the New York Mets?

By dannarferrara

Fernando Martinez was once a highly regarded prospect who was coveted by the entire Mets’ organization, including former General Manager Omar Minaya, who drafted him.

Now it seems that Martinez will never break through to the big leagues. Whenever he has been given a chance to shine he has fallen victim to some injury and missed out on his opportunity. Martinez has battled knee and back problems in his young career, causing him to miss valuable time on the field.

Angel Pagan got a chance to play in a lot of games for the Mets last year because Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay both missed a significant portion of the season – had Fernando Martinez been healthy at the time, perhaps he would have taken their place instead of Pagan. Pagan played so well last season that he has been named the opening day center fielder for the Mets in 2011.

Fernando Martinez has been sent down to the minors once again. He is still only 22 years old and still has plenty of time to make his way to the big leagues, so the Mets feel like there is no reason to rush him just yet. They also do not have any room for him on the field, so calling him up and having him ride the bench would be pointless.

Martinez was once the Mets’ biggest prospect and was marked as “untouchable” by Omar Minaya in negotiations with the Minnesota Twins for Johan Santana. Instead, the Mets gave up Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, and Kevin Mulvey. This package has amounted to nothing and the Mets were the clear-cut winners of the trade.

Martinez was ranked as the 20th best prospect in baseball prior to the 2008 season but has been falling fast on this list ever since. Before the 2009 season, Martinez dropped to #30 and before the 2010 season he fell to #77. Now, looking on Baseball America’s List of 100 Top Prosects in the MLB, Fernando Martinez does not crack the list.

Martinez hit .254 with 12 HR and 33 RBI in AAA and A+ in the Mets’ minor league system last season. He played in 75 games combined for the two teams and had 303 plate appearances.

While he once had so much trade value, Martinez is not a hot item on the market right now. The Mets are very unlikely to trade him, so he will just have to wait for his next opportunity to come about in order to get a crack at the big leagues. Perhaps the Mets’ outfielders will get injured and Martinez will be lucky enough to be called up this season.

What do you think of Fernando Martinez? I would like to hear about whether or not you think he will ever be a solid major league player and what you think the Mets should do with him going forward.

-follow on twitter: @ferrara34


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