Get ready, baseball fans. Another top prospect, Julio Pablo Martinez, is on his way.
Martinez is a 21-year-old Cuban outfielder, and is also regarded as the top Cuban prospect available. And now it looks like he’s on his way to the big leagues, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America.
“Major League Baseball has cleared 21-year-old Cuban center fielder Julio Pablo Martinez to sign beginning on March 6, which means Martinez will be eligible to sign during the current 2017-18 signing period.”
However, as Badler points out, there’s no rush for him to sign. This doesn’t mean his signing is imminent.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean Martinez will sign during the current signing period, since some teams have already exhausted their 2017-18 bonus pools. The three favorites to sign Martinez are the Marlins, Rangers and Yankees. If the Marlins or Yankees land Martinez, he would likely wait to sign until the 2018-19 period opens on July 2. The Rangers have spent some of their 2017-18 pool money they had allocated for Shohei Ohtani, but they might still have enough to sign him in March and have him begin his career right away.”
But let’s hone in on the Rangers, shall we?
Yesterday, the Rangers would make a trade. But not just any trade. In fact, it’s a trade that would add international slot money. And it looks like the purpose is to bring him in. But what do we know about the young outfielder?
Well, we know he holds a triple-slash of .290/.380/.426 across parts of six seasons between the Cuban National Series and independent Canadian-American League. And while he doesn’t possess much power, he is certainly a threat on the base paths. He would swipe 20 bases in just 57 games last summer while only getting caught four times.