The Tigers kicked off the international free agent signing period Wednesday morning by signing Dominican outfielder Julio Martinez for $600,000. Martinez, a 16-year-old Dominican, was ranked as the 19th best international free agent this year by MLB.com. He was not ranked among Baseball America’s top 30 international prospects.
Julio Martínez (OF) firmo con Detroit por US$600k. Su agente es "Niche"— Dionisio Soldevila (@dSoldevila) July 2, 2014
Martinez’s bat is the big draw here, as the youngster has drawn rave reviews for both his hit and power tools. At 6'2" and 195 pounds, Martinez has room to fill out his large frame and will be expected to develop more power as he gets older. MLB.com had great things to say about Martinez’s ability to hit to all fields.
On offense, Martinez succeeds at the plate by keeping hands inside and driving the ball to all fields. He's also impressed evaluators with his raw power during batting practice and his ability to make adjustments at the plate during games.
They were also kind enough to provide some video of Martinez in action.
Meanwhile, Minor League Ball’s Matt Garrioch was a bit more blunt when describing Martinez’s other characteristics:
Good hitter. Keeps his hands inside the ball well. Really slow running. Not very good defensively in the OF. May end up at 1B so the pressure will be on the bat more.
Martinez is one of the higher profile international signings that the Tigers have made in recent seasons. They typically do not splurge on premium talent -- though were reportedly in on Yoenis Cespedes a few years ago -- instead choosing to sign multiple "lesser" talents. This was their approach last season when they signed Willy Adames, Domingo Leyba, Zac Shepard, and Ignacio Valdez to bonuses all within the $250,000 to $500,000 range.
Martinez's $600,000 bonus is nearly one fourth of the $2,646,900 allotted to the Tigers for the international signing period.