Cuban OF Martinez in Haiti ahead of showcase

21-year-old may sign with MLB team during 2018-19 international period

November 8th, 2017

Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez has established residency in Haiti and is preparing for a showcase in the Dominican Republic during the first week of December,'s Jesse Sanchez has learned.

Baseball America was the first to report the development.

Martinez, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound 21-year-old with power and speed, has been among Cuba's top young players, earning spots on Cuba's 18U junior team in 2014 and '15. Because of his age, he will be subject to international bonus pool rules.

While not nearly in the same class as or Luis Robert, who earned bonuses of $31.5 million and $25 million with matching penalties to their respective teams for exceeding their bonus pools, Martinez figures to command a sizeable bonus.

In order to become eligible to sign as a free agent with an MLB team, Cuban players must first establish residency in another country and be cleared by Major League Baseball.

While Martinez will likely be cleared before the end of the 2017-18 signing period on June 15, many teams have used up their bonus pool or are waiting to see if they can use their remaining space to sign Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani. For those reasons, Martinez may wait until the next signing period begins on July 2 to sign with a team.

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Teams may trade for up to an additional 75 percent of their original bonus pool allocation to make room for Martinez. However, 12 teams -- the Astros, Athletics, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Nationals, Padres, Reds, Royals and White Sox -- are not allowed to offer more than $300,000 this signing period after exceeding their bonus pool in the last two years.

Martinez hit .333/.469/.498 in the Cuban Serie Nacional during the 2016-17 season, with six home runs and 24 stolen bases in 264 plate appearances over 61 games. Impressively, he had far more walks (52) than strikeouts (30).

Martinez also appeared in the Canadian-American Association this year and batted .297/.345/.449 with seven homers and 20 stolen bases in 255 plate appearances, but he struck out 56 times to just 17 walks.