Nothing officially official has come from the Seattle Mariners camp as of yet, but Ben Badler of Baseball America reportedly has a team source that has confirmed the Mariners' signing of 17-year-old right-handed hitting Dominican outfielder Hersin Martinez.
Martinez -- listed at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds in last July's international prospect reviews at BA -- is said to have tremendous pull-side power but with less-than ideal swing mechanics. There is reportedly a hitch in there and some other issues that are frequently seen in many of these toolsy Latin ballplayers. Badler's notes have Seattle's signing bonus to Martinez at $1.1 million, significantly lower than the $2 million that Badler and BA initially reported that the M's signed him for way back on the first day of international free agency last summer, July 2nd.
I haven't heard anything, but I think that part of that could be due to his identity. The prospect lists last May had him listed as Hersin Martinez, but in June -- and when he initially was rumored to have signed with Seattle in July -- his name was listed as Helsin. There was basically no talk about him after the M's $2m deal with him was confirmed as dead last summer, and it seems more than a little odd that a $2m guy didn't have any other teams on him...and then ultimately becomes a $1.1m guy.
Whatever the issues, Bob Engle and the Mariners' International staff are among the best in baseball and they most certainly did their due diligence on Martinez, who trained in the Dominican Republic with Pedro "Nube" Nivar, who also worked with Mariners prospect Phillips Castillo.
Martinez is just 17 and is likely to begin his career with Seattle playing for their Dominican Summer League team in Santo Domingo. If I can get anything further in terms of a scouting report on him I will certainly pass it along, but for now he is a name to file away for 2013 and beyond.