Monday, July 1, 2013

Can Fernando Martinez Actually Help Right Now?

For as long as he's been an organizational depth piece instead of the former top prospect he was, there was understandably little fanfare when the Yankees traded for Fernando Martinez from Houston a few weeks back.  The real goal of that move was to make sure the team had enough warm bodies out there in the Triple-A outfield after the rash of injuries they suffered.

But since being acquired, Martinez has somewhat surprisingly hit incredibly well for SWB.  In 54 plate appearances, Martinez has a batting line of .378/.463/.667, good for a .484 wOBA.  Considering he was hitting just .219/.291/.371 for the Astros' Triple-A affiliate prior to the trade, that's borderline unbelievable.  Martinez has looked much more like the elite prospect he was expected to be than the complete disaster he'd become as a hitter in the last few weeks, and with all the problems the Yankees are having in their lineup it begs the question of whether or not they should consider calling him up.

As ludicrous as that might sound, maybe it's not.  His big shift in BB and K rates - even in an incredibly small sample size - suggests the coaching staff in SWB has worked out something in his swing to bring back the natural talent he's always had.  He did post a .330 wOBA and 107 wRC+ in 130 PA for the Astros last season, and he's just 1 season removed from hitting .314/.367/.507 for them in Triple-A.  He's still just 24 years old too, so it's not like Father Time has turned the lights out on him yet.  Far from it.

Admittedly there's very little about Martinez's career path to date that leads any rational person to believe he can be a consistent contributor at the Major League level.  But with what the Yanks are getting from everybody not playing center field or second base right now, they should be open to all possibilities.  At the moment, Martinez is probably the best internal possibility.

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