You'll have to be a hyperventilating prospect geek brother or sister from way back to recognize the name Future Redbirds recently unearthed from its GCL box scores, but if you do it'll be a pleasant surprise: Infielder Jose Martinez has returned to baseball after a two-year absence.â†µ
Martinez earned proto-HPGF glory after hitting .300/.387/.500 with rookie-level Johnson City the same year Colby Rasmus was passing through. Just 19 and a shortstop, he seemed like a classic sleeper pick. Instead he disappointed—he became even more of a sleeper after hitting into what appeared to be horrible luck on balls in play, but by 2008 he was just another struggling AA Springfieldian.â†µ
Injuries slowed him down, but personal tragedy stopped Jose Martinez in his tracks. Last February Martinez's family was attacked by gunmen in his native Venezuela. Two uncles, his grandmother, and his father were shot and killed in what appears to have been a simple robbery gone wrong.â†µ
I admit that when I saw Martinez was back I had forgotten what had happened to him—there was just an ominous thought at the end of a long string of them about the infielder who never struck out. I had remembered it was horrible, but Googling it again for this article—well, the Gulf Coast League is as far away from St. Louis as it gets, but it's incredibly heartening to see Martinez back in the Daily Farm Report.