Rangers' Martinez heads to Wood Ducks

No. 84 overall prospect went 10-for-40 with Class A Hickory

As an international free agent, Julio Pablo Martinez signed with the Rangers for $2.8 million in March 2018. (Ken Inness/MiLB.com)

By Chris Bumbaca / MiLB.com | April 17, 2019 8:00 PM

One door temporarily closes, and another opens. 

That's the case for the Rangers' system and their No. 2 prospect Julio Pablo Martinez, promoted from Class A Hickory to Class A Advanced Down East on Wednesday. He will take the roster spot of fifth-ranked Bubba Thompson, who landed on the injured list with a fractured left hamate bone. 

Due to have surgery, Thompson is expected to miss four weeks, which will give Martinez an extended taste of the Carolina League. MLB.com's No. 84 overall prospect began his first full season in the Minors with the Crawdads, batting .250 with one homer and five RBIs over 40 at-bats and swiped four bags in five attempts. 

Last year, the Cuban native spent seven games with the Rangers' Dominican Summer League team before heading to Class A Short Season Spokane. In 60 games wtih the Indians, Martinez hit .252/.351/.436 with five jacks, eight triples and 11 stolen bases. He turned it up a notch during his play in the Arizona Fall League, where Martinez posted a .327/.397/.519 slash line with a homer and six RBIs, hitting for the cycle in one contest, across 13 games.

That followed two seasons in the Can-Am League, which the 23-year-old joined after his defection. The 5-foot-9, 174-pound outfielder isn't expected to hit for much power, but is a 60-grade runner and is a plus defender. 

2019 MiLB include

"I think you can expect to see him go out and be a consistent performer," Rangers director of player development Matt Blood told MiLB.com in March when asked what to expect from Martinez during his first full year in affiliated ball. "He's a hard-nosed player and loves to play, loves to compete. I think you'll see him go out and fit right in. He's going to be a fun one to watch." 

Thompson will be on the shelf until at least mid-May. The 2017 first-round Draft selection had been off to a tough start with the Wood Ducks, starting the campaign in a 6-for-40 slide with a pair of extra-base hits and two RBIs. Last year, Thompson hit .289/.344/.446 with eight homers and 42 RBIs with Hickory en route to earning Organizational All-Star honors

The 20-year-old has five-tool potential, much to the excitement of Texas' front office. 

"Bubba's one of those types of players that can impact the game really in every phase," Blood told MiLB.com. "He's a five-tool guy, and that's what five-tool means. He's an outstanding defender. He's a dynamic runner -- down the line on the basepaths and in the outfield. He's got a ton of strength and athleticism, can really drive the baseball, hit for average and power. Anytime he's on the field, you should pay attention, because he's an exciting guy in really all phases of the game."  

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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