Scouting Report: Harold Martinez

Harold Martinez of Miami’s Braddock High School was the first prospect I saw at the Sarasota Classic and you can find my preliminary thoughts here. His stock is slipping from being in the top 5 among high school players before the season and now he is more of a projection 3B prospect lacking some polish.

Find out the whole story with a full scouting report and video after the jump…

Harold Martinez, 3B, Braddock Bulldogs

Tool – Present/Future Grades

Hitting – 40/45

Power – 50/55

Speed – 45/40

Fielding – 50/55

Arm – 55/55

Physical Description – Wiry strong medium-to-large frame. Thin build throughout, sloped shoulders, athletic look, room for 15 lbs or more of muscle. Long limbs lack definition, skinny calves, strong mid-section drives good hip flexibility. Well-proportioned projectable athlete with striking resemblance to Twins OF Carlos Gomez.

Hitting – Mechanically is sound at the plate, however looks like he’s trying to have a perfect swing, not make solid contact. Has stiff actions at the plate that lack fluidity and feel, doesn’t consistently square the ball up. Shows tendency to drift and swing at bad pitches in this short look. Tries to pull and seems one-dimensional, relying on his good bat speed. Lacks hitability and hits the ball a little too far out front and may have problems identifying spins.

Power – Has hit for power in the past and hit one HR well over the LCF fence later in the tournament. The hip flex in his swing is a little late and lazy and his swing is level enough now that it’s pure bat speed creating this power with aluminum. With some weight training and a more leveraged swing, he could be a big power threat, but the lack of looseness in the swing makes me doubt he’ll tap into the raw power he’ll gain with either a more contact-oriented approach or lots of strikeouts trying to hit the long ball. Inconsistent in applying his power into games.

Speed – The main reason he’s projected at 3B. He’s somewhat slow-footed given his frame and defensive prowess, slower underway, more of a first step type. Not a base-stealing threat and didn’t get a good look at his baserunning ability, but seems to have good instincts in that area.

Fielding – Had buzz early in the season as a potential Gold Glove 3B. I didn’t see that today, but the first step is good, the hands are alright, and the actions work on the left side of the infield. Only had a few ground balls to test him and got ahead of himself and booted one of them. Could very well be that guy, but what I saw was the tools to be above-average to plus at 3B, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Arm – Flashes an effortless arm from in the hole that’s plenty for 3B and just fine for SS with solid on-line carry and accuracy.

Notes – As mentioned in the early report from the tournament, scouts were openly knocking Martinez’s hitability, and one questioned his makeup due to cracking under pressure this season with double-digit scouts at every game. His situation reminds me of Stephen King’s (Winter Park HS, Orlando area) in the 2006 Draft. He was shooting up draft boards with his broad base of skills but come draft time, one team I talked to said they didn’t buy the bat and wouldn’t consider him until the 4th round. Obviously the Nationals believed in the bat and paid him a top 50 pick bonus ($750,000). How many teams would’ve paid $500,000 or higher and how many wouldn’t touch him until the 4th round? No way to know, but I’d guess from the buzz on King that over 1/2 of clubs wouldn’t pay $500,000. I don’t think Martinez will flame out in Rookie League, but I’d rather take a chance on a player I’m more sure about in rounds 2-3. His upside is still high, I just don’t like the indicators I saw in this short look. Come draft time some team will probably do the same with Martinez that Washington did with King, it may even be the Nationals, who focus heavily on upside. Does that mean I, Baseball America, the clubs that like the bat, or the clubs that don’t like the bat are right or wrong? We won’t know for a few years.

Adjusted Overall Future Potential: 53

Present Group: P, Future Group: C

Projected Role: Solid-Average hitting everyday third baseman with above-average defense, 6th hitter profile

Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round for teams that like the bat, 3rd-5th round for teams that don’t like the bat

Overall Comparison: Upside is taller Adrian Beltre, more conservatively Pedro Feliz.

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