Gabriel Martinez (minors02)
Gabriel Jose Martinez
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 180 lb.
- High School Blanca Malaret High School
Gabriel Martinez played in the minor leagues from 2002 to 2012 and was among the league's top 10 in a key offensive stat in at least 4 seasons.
Martinez was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 27th round of the 2001 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Edwin Rodriguez in September and made his pro debut the next summer. In 2002 with the Princeton Devil Rays, he hit .323/.400/.479. He was 5th in the Appalachian League with 17 doubles and 10th in average. He led the league's first basemen in both putouts (469) and double plays (50).
In 2003, Martinez batted .292/.354/.420 for the Hudson Valley Renegades. He was 5th in the New York-Penn League with 43 RBI and just missed the top 10 in average. He led the league's first basemen with 11 errors though. Martinez moved up to the Bakersfield Blaze for 2004 and starred, hitting .323/.371/.454. He was 4th in the California League in average, was third among Tampa Bay farmhands in average, tied for second in the California League with 39 doubles (2 behind leader Issac Garcia) and led his club in OBP. He played every position except for catcher, shortstop and pitcher that year. His overall performance earned him the Bakersfield Player of the Year award.
Martinez encountered his first struggles as a pro in 2005, which he split between the Visalia Oaks (.280/.336/.470 in 24 games) and Montgomery Biscuits (.233/.310/.372 in 87 games). Martinez was 1 for 5 with two walks as a backup utility infielder for Puerto Rico in the 2005 Baseball World Cup. In 2006, he spent all year with Montgomery and improved to .266/.363/.400.
Martinez spent another full season with the Biscuits in 2007 and hit .272/.329/.433, leading the club with 82 RBI. In 2008, he remained with the Biscuits yet again and produced at a .276/.343/.450 clip. He had 29 doubles, 20 homers and 93 RBI. He tied Matt LaPorta for 4th in the Southern League in homers and was second in RBI, 3 behind Mat Gamel.
Martinez played for Puerto Rico in the 2008 Americas Baseball Cup, hitting .290/.371/.484 and scoring 9 runs in 8 games as they won first place. He tied teammate Jose Hernandez for the most runs scored.