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July 11, 2005
  
Fernando Martinez: Revealed!

Anybody remember that mystery kid from the NY Post awhile back? The one that stole the attention of the whole front office, and then met Omar and Fred Wilpon afterwards, all at the tender age of sixteen?

Well, the Mets now have him under contract. Big thanks to OFF, who translates the original ESPN Deportes article for us.

Bonuses in Quisqueya

Martinez will have to avoid the high bonuses curse that affects Dominicans.

MIAMI (ESPNdeportes).- Only in rare occasions have the Dominican players that received high signing bonuses reached stardom.

In fact, of the Quisqueyan ballplayers that received more than one million dollars in signing bonuses, only Wily Mo Pena ($2.45MM) is in the major leagues.

This is only one of the challenges that Fernando Martinez, who became a pro after receiving $1.4 million from the New York Mets this week, has in front of him.

“I’m not afraid of challenges,” Martinez told ESPNdeportes from his home in the Dominican Republic.

“I’m mentally prepared to overcome all the obstacles and make my dream of reaching the Major Leagues come true,” added Martinez, who will turn 17 in October.

Martinez is a left-handed power hitter who possesses all five tools necessary to be considered a potential star in the major leagues.

“Fernando is amazing. He has power, he makes contact, he has a great arm, speed and he can field. He possesses the five tools to become a great star,” said Ezequiel Sepulveda, a scout from the Dodgers who followed Martinez for months.

A scout from the Boston Red Sox said that Martinez looks like a young Ted Williams.

“Martinez can play center or right because he has a great arm,” said Rafael Bournigal, the Mets’ director of international scouting.

“Moreover, Fernandez has great posture for being so young,” added Bournigal.

Unlike the majority of his compatriots, Martinez could start his career in A-ball, and not in the Dominican Summer League.

The most optimistic projections say he could reach the big leagues after three years in the minor leagues.

In addition to justifying the signing bonus, Martinez should validate his label as a “can’t miss” and overcome the “high signing bonuses curse,” something that other Quisqueyans couldn’t do.

Pitcher Ricardo Arámboles (New York Yankees) and shortstop Josephang Benhardt (Toronto), who at the beginning of the 1990s became the first two Dominicans whose signing bonuses surpassed the million dollar mark, didn’t go further than AA.

Shortstop Julio Guerrero (Boston) and pitcher Jesús Cordero (Los Angeles Dodgers), who signed for $700,000 and $600,000, respectively, didn’t even reach double A.

Some others that have signed recently, like third baseman Andy Marte (Atlanta), shortstop Ervin Joel Guzmán, second baseman Willy Aybar (Los Angeles), shortstop Jerry Gil and right-handed pitcher Ramón Peña (formerly known as Adriano Rosario) from Arizona, are looking to establish themselves [as major leaguers] in the next couple of years.

Unlike the American ballplayers who are signed, most of which come from the June draft, the young men who play baseball in the Dominican Republic are not prepared for the tremendous impact that comes from going from extreme poverty to the fame and wealth of the major leagues.

The Dominican Republic, which has around 10 million habitants in 48,000 square kilometers, is one of the poorest countries in the American continent.

The minimum wage in the island is only $120 a month. The majority of ballplayers come from the poorest layer of society.

The great desire to escape poverty and help their families was the principal catalyst in the careers of players like Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano and Miguel Tejada.

None of these players was a “bonus baby,” the name that North Americans give to the players who receive high signing bonuses.

“I have a hunger to play at the highest levels. My responsibility is with my family, my little town and with my country,” said Martinez.

“My dream is to be able to play on the same team as Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran and I’m going to try to reach the big leagues as soon as possible so I can join them,” said Martinez.


58 Responses to “Fernando Martinez: Revealed!”

  1. Comment posted by Benny Blanco from da bronx on July 11, 2005 at 8:51 am (#7178)

    Very ambitious kid, he wants to play with Pedro? He gotta be in the majors next year then, lol.

  2. Comment posted by Goldy on July 11, 2005 at 9:21 am (#7179)

    You see this? You see? Getting scouted by the Dodgers and BoSox as well, everyone thinks he’s gonna be huge, but he signs with the Mets. THAT’S why we signed Pedro. One of the best moves in club history.

  3. Comment posted by steve on July 11, 2005 at 10:07 am (#7181)

    No doubt. Where would we be without Pedro? Stooopid Red Sox.

  4. Comment posted by Michael Oliver on July 11, 2005 at 2:06 pm (#7192)

    “A scout from the Boston Red Sox said that Martinez looks like a young Ted Williams.”

    Jeez…that is a tough one.

  5. Gravatar
  6. Comment posted by Eric Simon on July 11, 2005 at 3:40 pm (#7195)

    How can you say a 16-year-old looks like a young [INSERT NAME OF ONE OF THE THREE GREATEST HITTERS OF ALL TIME]? Give the kid a chance, will ya?

  7. Comment posted by Danny on July 11, 2005 at 4:01 pm (#7196)

    It’s better than hearing that he looks like the next John Cangelosi. You can never have enough prospects. (Although for 1.4 million up front, you hope the kid develops into something.) Sounds like a worthy risk though.

  8. Comment posted by Ricardo Gonzalez on July 11, 2005 at 4:36 pm (#7197)

    Here’s some more info on him:

    The Mets’ offer was apparently the highest, but there were eight other teams that offered over a million to sign him.

    He’s 6’0. He bats left-handed but throws right-handed. According to scouts from other teams, his arm is strong and accurate. They said it was similar to Guillen’s and Mondesi’s. His stance at the plate reminds people of Carlos Beltran and Todd Helton.

    According to Ivan Novoa, a superscout in the DR, his makeup is as good as A-Rod’s and Edgar Martinez’s.

  9. Comment posted by Roadblock Jones on July 11, 2005 at 5:22 pm (#7198)

    Let’s hope he’s more Ted Williams than Kenji Garcia.

  10. Comment posted by Dan in L.A. on July 11, 2005 at 5:37 pm (#7199)

    With the OBP troubles this team has had, I wouldn’t mind the next John Cangelosi, either.

    Still, I guess I’ll take Ted Williams :)

  11. Comment posted by Benny Blanco from da bronx on July 11, 2005 at 6:50 pm (#7200)

    I remember a while back, around January, Basbeball Prospectus wrote an article about the Pedro signing and criticizing it, also criticizing Omar Minaya during the Press Conference when he said that the Pedro Martinez signing is much more than just signing a talent, Pedro is such an icon that he’d be able to influence a young guy in the Dominican because Pedro pitched for them. The guys at BP criticized Omar saying:

    “Is it true? Pedro Martinez is far from the only Latin player in the game, even if he is one of the most prominent. On account of Vladimir Guerrero and Manny Ramirez, there are a lot of Latino boys that want to be Angels or Red Sox.
    And if it is true, does it matter?”

    I of course being offended e-mailed them saying that you cannot compare Pedro or Sammy with guys like Manny and Vladimir, blah, blah, blah, to make a long story short it seems that Pedro Martinez does seem to have an “influence” in “recruiting” young guys. Of course the Mets did offer more money but still, Ric said that 8 other teams offered more than a $1 million, so the difference at most was $400, 000, or maybe even less, so I still want to believe that having a guy like Pedro would make an influence to a young kid.

  12. Comment posted by Warren on July 11, 2005 at 8:00 pm (#7202)

    I think they compared it to the Pirates having Roberto Clemente and how that didn’t exactly give them the popularity to recruit young players as the Mets are claiming Pedro Martinez was going to do. Awful sentence.

  13. Comment posted by Benny Blanco from da bronx on July 11, 2005 at 11:38 pm (#7205)

    Appearently, according to mets.com he changed his name to Jesus Martinez, lol.

    I guess they took my comment at The Metropolitans, a little too seriously:

    Fernando Maritnez sounds like the second coming to Jesus Christ.

    Well if David Arias can have his name changed to David Ortiz, and my dad can SOMEHOW change his last name from Peralta to Ortega back to Peralta, then I guess Fernando Martinez can change his name to Jésύs Martinez.

  14. Comment posted by BigLittleJohn on July 12, 2005 at 1:34 am (#7207)

    I love Pedro as much as the next Met fan but please….

    Perhaps, just perhaps it was the 1.4 mill and not pedro that sealed the deal.

  15. Comment posted by wally on July 12, 2005 at 7:14 pm (#7231)

    why all the credit for pedro and not the dominican general manager who orchestrated the deal? and not for the city of new york? and not for the money?

  16. Comment posted by Jordan on July 18, 2005 at 11:35 pm (#7395)

    He cant even play in the States until he is 18, he is playing at the Mets DR facility right?

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