New Jersey High Schooler Batting Over .700
Perhaps it’s coincidence that the same weekend that Bryce Harper, the #1 overall selection in the 2010 Draft and at just 19 years old the youngest player in the Major Leagues, makes his long-anticipated MLB Debut for the Washington Nationals I also stumbled across an interesting article by Cameron Smith at Yahoo! Sports about a Pemberton, New Jersey high school catcher named Jose Martinez who’s batting .733 on the season so far.
Yes, that really says .733. It’s not a typo. He also hit .745 last season, but failed to qualify for the record books because he walked so many times (23), which cost him at bats.
Martinez’s current batting average would rank 10th all time, according to the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations. He’d be the first new entry in the Top 10 since 2000, when Mike Breyman hit .810 on the season. Breyman was never drafted and ended up batting .325/.420/.579 over 5 seasons in the Independent Frontier League.
What’s most amazing about this story is the fact that by all accounts Jose Martinez isn’t on the radar of most of the major collegiate programs. Barring a significant change, Martinez will attend Hartford Community College (which is apparently a “community college baseball powerhouse”) on a full scholarship in the Fall.
Presumably there must be some reason why Martinez is not attracting more interest from the bigger college programs. He also doesn’t seem to be generating much interest by Major League teams with the June Draft approaching. There apparently have been questions about the level of competition that he’s been facing, which may be diminishing the attention, but a bat of that caliber on a player of this age could carry enough potential for someone to take a flyer on him.