Jacob Turner Jacob Turner

Teenage Flying Tigers: Daniel Fields and Francisco Martinez


I discussed the minor league merits of top Tiger prospect Jacob Turner a few weeks ago, so now I thought it would be fun to turn our attention to two other teenage Flying Tigers: Daniel Fields and Francisco Martinez.

Martinez was rated as the Tigers’ number four prospect by Baseball America, and Fields was listed as fifth, but I think I’m more excited about Fields. I think he had the better season in the Florida State League anyway.

Fields was a shortstop in high school, but most of the experts predicted a move to the outfield when he was drafted. Sure enough, he landed an assignment to Lakeland as a center fielder. He may eventually end up as a corner outfielder, but he’s a terrific athlete and should do just fine in center. In 102 games with Lakeland, he committed only one error.

On offense, Fields looks to be another player that will struggle with the strikeouts. He was punched out 119 times in 375 at bats (31.7%), which isn’t good, but he did draw enough walks (12.6%) to maintain a .343 OBP, which is good. For me, the really encouraging part of his offensive game was the number of home runs he hit. Before the all-star break, he had only two home runs, but he increased that total to six in the second half. Eight home runs isn’t going to elicit calls for his immediate promotion, but it is nice to see that his power isn’t all just “projected power”. I figured he’d hit three or four all year, but what do I know?

Daniel has the speed and athleticism to steal bases, but he’s going to have to pick his spots better. Eight stolen bases against nine caught stealings just isn’t ever going to fly.

As is the case with Turner, his numbers don’t jump off of the page when you compare them to the rest of the FSL, but when you consider that he was just 19, his performance looks excellent. He was really one of the top two or three hitters under the age of 20 in a league where most players are two or three years older than that.

The word on Fields on draft day was that he was raw, raw, raw, but I was pleasantly pleased that he turned some of that promise into production in an aggressive assignment in his first year as a pro. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him spend another year in advanced-A ball. Definitely a player to keep an eye on going forward.

Francisco Martinez was the other teenager of note of the Lakeland Flying Tigers. He didn’t have the power numbers that Fields had, but he did finish the year with a .271 average, a .330 on base percentage, and 12 stolen bases. He maintained similar numbers in the Arizona Fall League (.278/.303/.692).

On defense, Martinez committed 17 errors in 86 games at third base, which seems pretty high, but he scored well on baseball-reference’s range factor. I don’t really know enough about that to comment either way.

I’m not really sure why Baseball America is so high on Martinez. I mean, he looks to be a promising young player, but he doesn’t appear to be an overly outstanding player in either offensive or defensive facet of the game. Still, he wasn’t overmatched in this advanced assignment, so he’s still a good prospect to watch in the coming years.