On Friday, the KC Royals announced that they added a player to their 40-man roster. That would be outfielder Jose Martinez, who is coming off his best season as a professional.
The Pacific Coast League batting champ hit a record .384 for Triple-A Omaha, after having never played above Double-A before in his previous eight minor league seasons. In 98 games with the Storm Chasers, he hit 25 doubles, three triples, and ten home runs. He scored 57 runs and drove in 60. Martinez walked 48 times compared to 55 strikeouts (.461 on-base percentage). This past season, he played right and left field, to go along with first and second base.
Martinez is currently playing winter ball in his home country of Venezuela. With La Guaira, he is hitting .314 with four doubles, two triples, and two home runs in 24 games. He has scored 15 runs and driven in 14. He has walked 14 times compared to 18 strikeouts (.406 on-base percentage). He is mostly playing the outfield (predominantly center field).
With the loss of outfielders Alex Rios and Alex Gordon to free agency, along with utility man Ben Zobrist, this may be Martinez’ chance to shine (or at least make an impression during spring training). The move also makes him ineligible for December’s Rule V Draft.