By: Mario Phillips
Nolan Martinez – RHP – Culver City High School (CA), 6’2, 175. Bats: Right. Throws: Right. College Commitment: San Diego State
Scouted: 4/21/16- El Segundo HS at Culver City HS; 5/20/16- Elsinore HS at Culver City HS (First Round Playoff)
Martinez did not arrive on the prospect scene until last summer, and like others before him, the Area Code Games (2015 edition) in Long Beach, (Calif.) served as a springboard to prospect status. Martinez appeared to come out of nowhere as he began to flash one of the best fastballs in this year’s prep class. Martinez definitely passes the eye test as he has a highly projectable lean, athletic frame with repeatable mechanics. He also has a keen understanding of pitching and his intangibles on the mound are off the chart. Baseball America’s latest pre-draft rankings have Martinez listed as the 67th best prospect heading into the 2016 MLB Amateur draft.
2016 Stats: 8-2, 0.49 ERA, 56.2 IP, 81K, 17 BB
Fastball: Martinez fires a fastball in the 88-93 MPH range that features a loose arm with late life and a fastball that bores into hitters. Martinez keeps the ball down in the zone and works both sides with this pitch. He stays around plate with good control and displays excellent command of his of fastball for his age. As Martinez fills out, I expect his velocity to increase a couple ticks.
Curveball: Martinez throws a devastating CB with good bite and depth that he gets over with frequency. As he develops as a pitcher, this will become his out pitch that will enable him to lead a rotation.
Changeup: Martinez’s changeup is a work in progress but it has good velo separation and occasional deception. His arm speed is consistent across his entire repertoire. The second time I saw him pitch, he tossed a 7 inning complete game (and led Culver City to a first round playoff victory). It wasn’t until the sixth inning when I noticed his arm speed slow a tick when throwing the changeup and curve ball.
DELIVERY: Again, Martinez has a tall, lean, athletic, and projectable frame that you look for in a front line starter. Martinez comes at you from a good downward plane, which enables his fastball to bore. His mechanics are solid and he also has some deception as his arm speed is quick and nearly identical throughout his repertoire.
INTANGIBLES: I added four points to my Overall Future Potential (OFP) grade of 66, raising his grade to a 70 on the 20-80 scale. His intangibles are off the chart! I raised his OFP 4 pts for his instincts, aggressiveness, mound presence, and athletic and fielding prowess. He displayed great pitch sequencing which really kept hitters off balance. Martinez also worked quickly with good rhythm, which added to his deception. He is also an extra infielder, as he gets into a really good fielding position quickly. He can swing the bat a bit as he hit .290 in high school while playing some OF when he was not pitching.
FUTURE: Martinez will hear his name called early on draft day, as he should be a solid second round pick. Martinez is enthusiastic about attending San Diego State and has been told he will be allowed to swing the bat and play the OF. However, he may bypass San Diego State if he is paid above slot, otherwise he will go on to become one of the top college pitchers in the nation and likely be a first round pick in 2019. Martinez has the makings of a frontline pitcher. He is an aggressive competitor who should pitch near top of a MLB rotation.