Jose Martinez has been very impressive so far this season for Corpus. Through the first 5 games this season, he's hitting .316/.381/.632 with 1 HR, 6 runs, and 5 RBI. He's also made a handful of outstanding plays on defense. So far, he's looking like a steal for Jeff Luhnow. Except he's already 26 and hasn't really played since 2008. So where did he go and how did he end up here?
Jose began his career as an international signing for the Cardinals and debuted at age 19 in the Appalachian League where he posted an .887 OPS. He reached AA Springfield when he was 21 in 2007 and posted an .811 OPS. This kid was going places. He tried to play through a stress fracture in 2008 and his production suffered. Despite the setback, there was an outside shot Jose would have a chance at replacing Adam Kennedy on the St. Louis roster.
And then tragedy struck. On Valentine's Day 2009 his family in Venezuela was the victim of a brutal home invasion that led to the deaths of his grandmother, father, and two uncles. Needless to say baseball took a back seat for Jose at that point and he missed most of spring training dealing with the tragedy.
When he returned, shoulder tendinitis kept him from fully resuming his career, eventually leading to surgery.
Now that he's healthy, the man who helped develop him in the Cardinals organization is helping give Jose Martinez an opportunity to get his career back on track. Hopefully Martinez can realize the potential that Jeff Luhnow saw in him before Jose had to deal with the unimaginable.
Sources: The Cardinal Nation and CardinalsNet