Cuban prospect Julio Pablo Martinez has defected from Cuba, and he has established residency in Haiti. The 21-year-old outfielder is now petitioning MLB for free agency. According to MLB Trade Rumors, the process for Martinez to become a free agent may take a few months.
Even if the process for MLB to grant him free agency may drag on, Martinez is already being proactive in attempting to get a new deal. MLB.com‘s Jesse Sanchez reports Martinez is already in the process of scheduling a showcase for interested teams. Given the scouting reports on the outfielder, it seems many teams will be interested.
Over the past year, Martinez played in the Cuban National Series, the top league in Cuba. In 61 games, he hit .333/.469/.498 with 11 doubles, two triples, six homers, and 27 RBI. Despite his promising talent, he did not participate in the World Baseball Classic.
According to Ben Bader of Baseball America, “Martinez is a lefty with a promising combination of power and speed . . . . Based on his present ability, he’s probably ready to go to a high Class A or Double-A team.”
Cuban OF prospect Julio Pablo Martinez has established residency in Haiti and is petitioning for free agency. There’s a showcase in the works for December for one of the island’s top young players. @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/I1NJEHUSwr
— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) November 8, 2017
For teams that are interested in Martinez, there are a few roadblocks with one of the main ones being Martinez is subject to the international bonus restrictions.
At a minimum, we should see the Mets attend Martinez’s showcase. At the moment, minor league outfield depth is at a nadir, and the organization could use a talented outfielder who is not far from the majors. Presumably, Martinez could fill that void.