By: Will Burchfield
He doesn’t pitch, not like his dad.
But Pedro Martinez Jr. can swing the bat, and the Tigers are investing in that bat for the future.
The team signed the 17-year-old third baseman in his native Dominican Republic on Wednesday after tracking him for the past few years. Martinez adds some needed pop to the Tigers’ farm system.
Tom Moore, the Tigers’ international scouting director, sees a lot to like in the power-hitting son of a Hall-of-Fame pitcher.
“We’re really excited. He’s 6-foot-2 and projects to get bigger and stronger. He shows not only power, but the ability to hit,” Moore told MLB.com.
Terms of the deal have not been announced, but Dominican journalist Dionisio Solvedilla reported the Tigers gave Martinez an $800,000 signing bonus.
When Martinez’s dad signed with the Dodgers in 1988, he was given a $6,500 signing bonus. Fair to say he was worth the investment.
Martinez, a right-handed hitter, did not crack MLB.com’s most recent ranking of the top-30 international prospects, but Moore said, “It’s not a situation where he’s been overly exposed to the market.”
The youngster’s defensive future is a bit cloudy. He’s spent most of his amateur career on the left side of the infield, but where he’ll settle long term remains to be seen.
“He’s still growing,” said Moore. “When he gets bigger and stronger in his development, that is going to determine where he’s going to play.”
Per MLB.com, Martinez, who attends a private school and is bilingual, will take part in the Tigers’ Dominican academy this fall and will graduate from his school next spring.
Four of the Tigers’ top five prospects, per MLB.com, are pitchers. They added lots of positional depth at the deadline, but are still pretty thin in regard to hitters. Martinez will help address that void.