Metsblog had an update today about Fernando Martinez. F-Mart is injured again and missing a little time. There really is no word on the severity of the injury, and it's likely that the Mets are just being cautious as usual. But then I made the mistake of reading the Metsblog comments.
I'd ignore this comment if it was an isolated incident, but I have started to see comments like this a lot lately:
I’ve seen F-Mart before – his name then was Alex Escobar. Escobar never made it on the major league level and from all accounts, neither will F-Mart.Sigh.
I'm not saying that Fernando Martinez is a can't-miss major league prospect. He's a great prospect, and I like his chances, but nobody is "can't miss". Fernando has some serious holes in his game - ones that may have begun to have been exposed in Triple-A this season. Namely, his unwillingness to walk.
With all that said, I need to get on the soapbox here for a moment: FERNANDO MARTINEZ IS NOT ALEX ESCOBAR. THEY HAVE ALMOST NOTHING IN COMMON ASIDE FROM BEING METS OUTFIELD PROSPECTS OF HISPANIC DESCENT.
Alex Escobar came with a lot of hype, but to any intelligent and critical observer, his game had serious flaws. Although he dominated Low-A at the age of 19, crushing 27 home runs and stealing 49 bases, he was not unusually young for the level and struck out a lot. In 1999, the next season, he missed almost the entire season to injury. He played only three games.
The next year, at the age of 21, he went to Double-A Binghamton and posted ordinary statistics. He batted 288/375/487, which is pretty good. He hit 16 home runs and stole 24 bases, which is also good. If I remember correctly, the scouts loved him. But at this point, he's age-appropriate for the level and still striking out more than 25% of the time.
In 2001 he was 22 years of age and in Triple-A. At that level, he struck out a whopping 146 times in 397 at bats - so more than a THIRD of his at-bats. He posted a 758 OPS and should never have been summoned to the majors. He then missed the entire 2002 season to injury.
So there you have it. Alex Escobar posted one great season in Low-A ball before spending the rest of his time in the minor leagues striking out at an obscenely high rate or injured. Fernando Martinez has been significantly younger than Escobar at every level he has played at. When Escobar was in Low-A, Martinez was in Double-A. Martinez played last season at the age of 20 and did so in Triple-A. At the same age, Escobar was missing the year altogether.
If that isn't enough, Martinez posted better stats at Triple-A last year (with an 877 OPS) than Escobar EVER posted as a prospect outside of that one season in Low-A. Fernando Martinez might not be the picture of perfect plate discipline, but even this season he has only struck out 9 times in 59 at-bats. Soon, potential will have to turn into performance, and he will have to learn to control the strike zone, but even as aggressive as he seems to be, pitchers cannot strike him out.
I don't mean to go on the same Fernando Martinez rant I always go on, I just needed to respond to that comparison which I have read multiple times. Fernando Martinez is a better prospect, and Alex Escobar was overrated to begin with. Hell, they're even different types of players altogether. Any comparison between the two is just lazy at best.
 Interesting tidbit here: Fernando Martinez has yet to strike out at home in 22 at-bats, but has struck out 9 times in 37 at-bats while away. He still has yet to draw a walk.