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MLB Free Agency 2012: Fernando Martinez Claimed By Houston Astro

In a continual effort to claim every available top prospect, the Houston Astros used their status at the top of the waiver wire to claim former Mets top prospect Fernando Martinez. A very hyped guy for a long time now, Martinez had been linked to the Astros in the past as part of Roy Oswalt trades and the like.

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Does it make sense for Houston? Absolutely. Talent always gets a second and third and fourth chance. Martinez is supremely gifted and is still just 23 years old. He has only hit .183/.250/.290 in 47 career games and 145 career plate appearances in the majors.

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Unfortunately, that's not the worst part, as his minor league numbers haven't been much better. Martinez hasn't hit above .260 since 2009 and has never posted an on-base percentage above .350. Only once in his career has he had a minor league slugging percentage above .500 either, so the dreams of him being a 5-tool guy may have passed.

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He does have experience playing in center field, though and may see playing time there for Houston. After all, they only have Eaty McPot on the depth chart right now in center, with Jason Bourgeois and J.B. Shuck behind him. The one thing I wouldn't try to do is play Martinez ahead of Brian Bogusevic, who should be given a chance to be a regular starter this season.

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Does Martinez still have upside? Sure, as he actually posted some decent defensive numbers in 60 innings in center field back in 2009. However, injuries have sapped his defensive potential since then. If he can come in and be a valuable fourth outfielder, the Astros will have made a good investment here.

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Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.