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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

HBT (Calcaterra): Fernando Martinez and the Astros show why the WBC still has so far to go

I understand that we’re supposed to be all-in on the World Baseball Classic and that players who don’t take it seriously have the wrong attitude and are otherwise “idle heroes,” but I’m sorry: if a general manager for a baseball team is saying that participating in it is going to have negative implications for you, you should not be playing in the WBC. If I’m Martinez’s agent I have him call the Spanish manager, say “smell you later,” and make sure my client’s butt is in Osceola County Stadium from the first day of Spring Training until the team breaks camp so as to give him the best chance to win a job.

Calcaterra makes a lot of good arguments. Read also the quote from Jeff Luhnow via astros.com writer Brian McTaggart:

“The big challenge is … a guy like Fernando Martinez, who’s trying to make our club, [being] gone for an extended period of time. I think that potentially hurts him, even if he does well in the Classic,” Luhnow said. “It hurts him because he’s not there with our coaches, being seen firsthand. It makes it a little bit more difficult. The fact he’s playing for Spain means he’s not going to be gone the whole month. Nothing against Spain, but they’re not likely to make it past the first round.”

The WBC is Bud Selig’s baby, but no matter how badly he wants it to work, his modus operandi has always been to take what he can get and push for more later. And in this case, “what he can get” equates to the situation we have now where it is in most players’ best interest not to play in the WBC.

Mike Emeigh Posted: January 22, 2013 at 10:38 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, prospects, wbc

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   1. Mark S. is bored Posted: January 22, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4352472)
Martinez was with the MLB team the last two months of the 2012 season. What are the Astros going to see in a couple weeks of Spring Training that they haven't already seen?
   2. DCA Posted: January 22, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4352480)
He is fairly new to the organization, and the Astros have been churning through semi- and former-prospects like him for the last two years. I haven't seen him play recently, but given all the missed time in the Mets org and his ugly K/BB and advanced fielding metrics he has a lot of skills/fundamentals development to do. Spring training is a good place to learn and demonstrate any progress.
   3. JJ1986 Posted: January 22, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4352490)
Why is Fartinez on the Spanish team?
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 22, 2013 at 11:18 AM (#4352500)
I think this applies mostly to the Astros where the main qualifications for playing time are "Don't have too much major league experience" and "Don't have any sort of track record of success".
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: January 22, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4352516)
It's crap like this, that proves why the Astros are a second rate team.
   6. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: January 22, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4352531)
Spain vs. Astros -- who would advance?
   7. base ball chick Posted: January 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4352542)
the astros - "major league" team where fernando martinez and rick ankiel are fighting for outfield spots. not the 4th and 5th OF spots.

where signing STARS!!!!! like carlos pena is important!!!

where the ace of the baseball staff gets paid what he is worth!!!! and that is 3 mill a year!!!!!

where the owner pocketing at least half of all incoming money makes him a genius seeing as how there is no sports media and what there is of it doesn't care about anything. AND the owner has said he isn't spending any money until the farm is one of the 3-4 best - not that the farm has actually graduated TOP people to the major leagues.

   8. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 22, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4352544)
It's crap like this, that proves why the Astros are a second rate team.


It's not just the Astros. Yan Gomes, who would have been Brazil's best player and who did play in the qualifier, was traded from Toronto to Cleveland in the offseason, and was left off Brazil's roster in part because the Tribe felt he needed to be in camp to get familiar with the pitchers. Troy Tulowitzki wanted to play but Colorado reportedly wanted him in camp; he was left off the Team USA roster. Jaime Garcia wanted to play for Mexico; the Cardinals were concerned that it would impact his rehab and he was left off the roster.

I think it's clear that the price of having the WBC is that no one is going to be pushed to play, and teams can decide to keep players out. Mike Trout didn't really want to play; he's not playing. Bryce Harper didn't really want to play; he's not playing. Buster Posey said after the WS that he wanted to play for Team USA, but he's not playing either. The guys who are playing are, for the most part, complementary pieces on their teams or real longshots to make it.

-- MWE
   9. base ball chick Posted: January 22, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4352546)
oh yeah

i have no idea at all why fernando martinez is on any sort of list, long OR short, to be on a major league team, after watching him play. NO strike zone judgement. no speed, no glove.
   10. base ball chick Posted: January 22, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4352551)
more yeah

i don't want any player who is any good on my team (fortunately, there is only 1 - jose altuve) playing in the WBC neither. it messed up roy oswalt the first half of 06

but i don't care if they send anyone else on the 40 man - well, not true - lucas harrell and bud norris and wesley wright can actually pitch at the ML level so i don't want them there neither

i don't see what some GAME has to do with patriotism unless the outcome determines something earthshatteringly kaboomingly crucial - like - if we don't win the other side gets all our Top Chefs, or something
   11. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 22, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4352557)
Did you end up picking a team for 2013, BBC?
   12. bigboy1234 Posted: January 22, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4352569)
Did you end up picking a team for 2013, BBC?

on my team (fortunately, there is only 1 - jose altuve)

Looks like it.
   13. Bourbon Samurai Posted: January 22, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4352598)
Seriously, let this guy play against good competition and see what he can do. That's gonna be more valuable than him playing pepper in front of your coaches? assign a damn intern to follow around the WBC team and say what he does.

   14. Rear Admiral Piazza Posted: January 22, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4352608)
I'm someone who would like to see the WBC succeed. With that in mind, I hope Selig fines the hell ou of the worthless Lastros.
   15. ColonelTom Posted: January 22, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4352613)
Martinez has some sort of arthritic knee condition, doesn't he? I thought that was part of why the Mets gave up on him. If he does, that may explain the Astros' decision.
   16. Astroenteritis Posted: January 22, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4352641)
I don't think the Astros are the exception here. Many teams have discouraged players from participating in the WBC.
Perhaps Martinez being one of Spain's "bigger" names brings more attention to his situation? Given the timing of the WBC it is difficult to see how this won't always be a problem, either with teams trying to protect their interests (from their point of view, at least) or players just not interested in playing in the WBC.
   17. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 22, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4352659)
oh yeah

i have no idea at all why fernando martinez is on any sort of list, long OR short, to be on a major league team, after watching him play. NO strike zone judgement. no speed, no glove.


There are still Met Fan prospect watchers who are following him, and they are a persistent bunch, basically if you squint his September numbers could constitute the first sign of improvement in 3 years (If you adjust for league and park his 2012 AAA numbers are no better than his 2010/2011 numbers and not nearly as good as his 2009 AAA numbers)

Taken as a whole (AAA + MLB) his 2012 was not much better than 2010-2011 and not as good as his 2009, but he actually hit in the MLB in September so he's got his old fanboy contingent excited again

He's still reasonably young, could be a legit 4th OF I'd guess, but as far as being a good regular (let alone star) OF, I think that boat is sailing off over the horizon
   18. Mark S. is bored Posted: January 22, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4352694)
There are still Met Fan prospect watchers who are following him, and they are a persistent bunch, basically if you squint his September numbers could constitute the first sign of improvement in 3 years
Yes. He hit .308/.413/.577 in September. But, then again, it was only 63 PA. Voros' Law tells us that we should ignore it. He hit better in AAA in 2012 then he did in 2010 or 2011. But, then again, it was in the PCL vs the IL in previous years.

He's 24 years old, so you can't just write him off (although the Mets did), but he has an arthritic knee and has stalled out offensively. He was healthy in 2012 (for the most part), so that's good news.
   19. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 22, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4352697)
I'm someone who would like to see the WBC succeed. With that in mind, I hope Selig fines the hell ou of the worthless Lastros.


Uh, for what? Martinez is playing in the WBC.
   20. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 22, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4352723)
He hit better in AAA in 2012 then he did in 2010 or 2011. But, then again, it was in the PCL vs the IL in previous years.


Not really by much, that's the problem- in 2012 he hit .875 OPS versus a league of .775
in 2011 he OPS'd .746 against a league of .729
in 2010 he OPS'd .772 against a league of .740

Relative to league Buffalo and Oklahoma are roughly equal, so he did better against league in 2012 than 2010/2011
but not as well as 2009
plus his K/BB in 2012 was 85/24 in 373 PAs, he's shown no sign of improvement, none, it's 438/140 for his minor league career

his ISO wasn't any better in 2012 than 2009 and quite bit worse than 2009, his 2012 "improvement" was literally all BABIP- and that's the "improvement" that's most likely to be ephemeral.

When the Mets brought him up what most surprised me about this uber-prospect CENTERFIELDER that they'd been touting almost endlessly was his seeming lack of athleticism.

I dunno, what do I know, I was wrong about Lastings Milledge (who seemed to have both athleticism and a decent working knowlege of the strike zone...)


   21. Tuque Posted: January 22, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4352873)
Fartinez

Every time. That gets me every time. I am a grown-assed man, this is ridiculous.
   22. AJMcCringleberry Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4352953)
I wish the Mets still had Martinez. Though that says more about the Mets' OFers than it does Martinez.
   23. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:27 PM (#4352961)
where the owner pocketing at least half of all incoming money makes him a genius seeing as how there is no sports media and what there is of it doesn't care about anything. AND the owner has said he isn't spending any money until the farm is one of the 3-4 best - not that the farm has actually graduated TOP people to the major leagues.


Who was the old Twins owner... Cal Griffiths? I remember a few things being written about him that pointed out he did what he did in order to continue to remain owner of the Twins. Sort of like the Wilpons and the Mets, currently.

It obviously sucks to be a fan of those kinds of teams, but I wonder what I'd do if I could have only one of two things

a) own a major league baseball team but never be able to afford a payroll of more than 45 million, or

b) not own a major league baseball team.

I'd like to think I'd have the perspicacity to hire guys who could get into the postseason once in a while with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, but I don't know that I'd let the likelihood of perennial second division finishes dissuade me from owning an MLB ball club.
   24. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:29 PM (#4352964)
I wish the Mets still had Martinez. Though that says more about the Mets' OFers than it does Martinez.


Yup. He's STILL young, and the Mets sold low. It's also not like the Mets ml is packed with promising young OFers that Martinez was blocking. What a #### up.
   25. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 22, 2013 at 08:14 PM (#4353002)
Martinez is playing in the WBC.


I may have left the opposite impression in the lead-in, and I apologize for that. Martinez is playing - what Luhnow is saying is that decision to play could hurt his chances of making the Astros.

What bothers me more is that there are guys who have publicly said they want to play - like Posey after last year's WS, and like Tulowitzki a month ago - who aren't playing, and I think it's legitimate to ask why.

-- MWE

   26. base ball chick Posted: January 22, 2013 at 10:30 PM (#4353051)
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 22, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4352557)

Did you end up picking a team for 2013, BBC?

- i'm gonna
really, i'm gonna. i mean pick a new team. to root FOR
i am TOO

but at this particular second me still being on the rebound i guess i'm still a little too obsessed with my ex. my husband keeps saying - what do you care? and - you TOLD me you didn't want me to buy no tickets and i took you at your word
and of course i am not going to Opening Day for the first time in my adult life except for when i was too pregnant and too sick to go

i can not believe i am not going to Opening Day

this sucks

- as for fernando martinez, he is not athletic at ALL - i can't figure out how he was ever a center fielder. he can barely play left. he doesn't run well and is not a good/smart baserunner

calvin griffiths was like the richest owner in the majors. he didn't want to spend a cent of his own bilions to have a winning team. i don't understand people like that

jim crane is different. he has very little money, as major league owners go. he paid five million cash for the astros and no i am not kidding. the rest of it is phony money. the team is a cash cow, as long as he keeps the payroll at league minimum. after subtracting the amounts he has to pay for the draft, major league payroll, wandy, the few bucks on stadium payment, he will have a profit of at least 30 mill a year.

and you best believe he is not exactly putting that in a savings account so he will have it to spend when the team magically mysteriously for some unknown reason is "good"
   27. Mark S. is bored Posted: January 23, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4353263)
When the Mets brought him up what most surprised me about this uber-prospect CENTERFIELDER that they'd been touting almost endlessly was his seeming lack of athleticism.


as for fernando martinez, he is not athletic at ALL - i can't figure out how he was ever a center fielder. he can barely play left. he doesn't run well and is not a good/smart baserunner


From what I remember of the scouting reports, there was a belief for years that he would not be athletic enough to play center field (basically outgrow the position) as he grew older. So, it's not surprising that he's not able to play. In addition, any athleticism he did have is most likely gone with his arthritic knee.
   28. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 23, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4353673)
he paid five million cash for the astros and no i am not kidding.


WT...?

I don't have rich friends, but if someone came up to me and said 'if you can raise 5m in cash (along with signing a promissory note, I assume, for x hundred millions) in one week in exchange for a baseball team', I could do it. How could you not?

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