Mets Star Prospect Shines In Carribean Series

His name is Fernando Martinez. He's the New York Mets top prospect a couple years running. You may know him better by his alias, "He Who Would Not Be Dealt For Johan Santana."

Around this time last year Mets F--Mart was the talk of the town. The "Teen Hitting Machine" was the prime impetus for a staring contest between the Mets and Minnesota Twins. The Twins wanted the Mets prized prodigy, but Omar Minaya refused to blink. Now Omar has both Johan and Fernando. Minnestoa has Fargo.

MInaya will probably get a little smile when he reads about Martinez recently showing off some of that blue-chip pedigree on the international stage, hitting a game-winning home run for his Dominian Republic team in the Carribean Series. It doesn't amount to much in the big picture -- the Carribean Series is a notch above Winter League ball, but not quite the standard of the Olympics or World Baseball Classic -- but it's also a reminder as to why Omar might be reticent to invest big bucks in a corner outfielder. 

Fernando Martinez is only 20 years old, but will likely be slated to play AAA ball, a very advanced level for his age. He's touted as a "five-tool player", but his bat is what makes everyone salivate: his upside has been compared to that of players like Ted Williams, Vladimir Guerrero, and yes, even Manny Ramirez.

Of course that sort of hyperbole along with $400 million dollars may buy you the right to name a stadium, but it certainly doesn't insure Fernando will pan out as a Hall of Fame caliber hitter. But when thrown in with the economic crisis, and all the baggage a player like Manny brings, it makes the decision to stand pat a little more understandable. The veterans currently on the market are looking for years more than dollars, and that could potentially create a logjam and inefficient use of resources.

This will mean more pressure on the youngster though, whenever he arrives at what hopefully might someday be called Jackie Robinson Field.  The Mets have a history of pushing their best prospects quickly (see: Jose Reyes, David Wright, Mike Pelfrey), and a hot rookie like F-Mart could be just the distraction the team needs to take fans minds off organizing Million Manny Marches and the like.

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