Jays’ Martinez rocking it at spring training

Young Dominican infielder expected to reach MLB in 2023

Orelvis Martinez, Dominican infielder of the Toronto Blue Jays
Orelvis Martinez signing his contract with the Blue Jays in 2018. The infielder was the second-largest bonus of any prospect in his class with US$ 3.5-million. 

It is a long way to the top if you want to become an MLB star, and Orelvis Martinez surely knows something about that.

The 19-year-old shortstop was born in the Dominican Republic and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays during the international signing period of 2018.

Hitting coach Hunter Mense explained that, as any foreign player, Martinez underwent an adaptation process to make him feel comfortable enough to exploit his abilities.

“When (Spanish speaking players) first sign, they go to what is called the Tricky League,” said the coach, of the six-week introduction for underaged signees in the Dominican. “Which is just an unofficial league used to get acquainted to the organization.”

Mense also explained that Orelvis’ skills allowed him to take a different path than usual.

“He didn’t start the (Dominican Summer League) like most of the kids do in their first year within the organization, he came (to) play in the United States (in the Gulf Coast League),” he said. “It’s a really challenging thing, and especially for the young Dominican kids, just because they are coming to a country where the language and everything is completely new for them.”

Though these processes take time, the quality of the staff working with the young Dominican at the club helped him to start showing what he is capable of.

Back in 2018 the Blue Jays spent US$3.5-million to sign the infielder and by 2019, during his first official season, he played 37 games, starting 26 as a shortstop and 11 at third base, with a total of 57 putouts and 61 assists.

Martinez also had a slash line of .275/.352/.549 (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage), including seven home runs, 20 runs, and 32 RBIs in 163 plate appearances.

His performances convinced the coaching staff to consider him for the training sessions at Rochester last October and once again for the 2021 spring training, where the Orelvis is showing why he was ranked number seven on the Blue Jays’ 2020 prospects ranking.

“All that experience from last year in Rochester and now here helps my development,” said the Dominican, on Zoom press conference earlier this week. “I got a lot better in both sides of the field, I’ve improved my entire game.”

Despite his time of arrival to the major leagues being estimated for 2023, some observer wouldn’t be surprised if he accomplishes that goal sooner than expected.

“He was part of a very poor family and lived in a small house in an area with a lot of crime, many of the kids who grew up with him ended up lost in the streets,” said reporter William Aish, who followed Martinez early days, in an email exchange.

“He never stopped following his dream and, with the support of his family, he is very close to fulfil it.”

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Posted: Mar 12 2021 8:30 pm
Filed under: Baseball Sports