Top prospects host home run derby at Double-A –

Top prospects host home run derby at Double-A –

Ethan Sands
Toronto's No. 2 prospect and the Mets' No. 3 prospect had themselves a home run bout.
While the top prospects ended in a stalemate with two blasts apiece, Orelvis Martinez took the edge with five RBIs as the Double-A Fisher Cats grabbed a 17-8 victory over Ronny Mauricio's Rumble Ponies on Thursday night in Binghamton, N.Y.
The fireworks began in the second inning when Martinez launched a jack to center field, but Mauricio was quick to respond with a homer of his own in the bottom half of the inning, also to center.
Martinez retook the lead with a three-run blast to left in the third, marking his 24th homer of the season.
It took two more innings, but Mauricio hit another solo shot to right in the fifth. They both ended the night 2-for-4, with Martinez totaling five RBIs and Mauricio knocking in two of his own.
"Martinez jumped on a couple pitches early in the game and put his team up, and Ronny was able to counter and answer back with a home run of his own," Rumble Ponies manager Reid Brignac said, describing the back-and-forth. "They're both very talented players, they both have bright futures in this game, but they are both young, and they both have things they need to improve on." 
Martinez is 20 years old with three years of professional experience, and Mauricio is 21 with five years of experience. The ceilings are extremely high for both players, and their work ethic is only increasing with the goal getting closer. 
"It's just his willingness to want to be really good, and he knows he has to work to be what he wants to be," Fisher Cats hitting coach Matt Hague said about Martinez.
Becoming a better player doesn't always occur on the field but in the preparation leading up to an outing, and that has been an area where Mauricio has improved significantly this season. 
"He's definitely matured a lot over the last couple of months," Brignac said. "We want him to be a total professional, learning how to prepare himself every day, to be in a good mindset, mentally, and also physically.
"He's an important piece of our team, for sure. He's got to go out and compete, play hard and he's been doing a good job of that, leaving it all out on the field every night. That's all we can ask. He's learning, he's getting better, he's retaining information and applying it in the game."
Martinez currently leads the Eastern League with 24 homers, and Mauricio is closely behind, tied for fifth with 18. The tandem is tied with each other for fifth in the league with 58 RBIs, but both have goals further than just success in Double-A. 
"You can't get complacent, Double-A isn't the dream; the big leagues is the dream," Brignac said. That's the path you want to keep working towards and keep getting better, so you can prove that you're big league ready."
But fans should take advantage of seeing these eye-catching talents play early and buy stock in autographs. 
"Be on the lookout," Brignac said. "[Mauricio's] got a bright future. It's just a matter of time, he's working hard and he loves to play the game of baseball.
"Come out and watch him. You'll see that [Martinez] is a special player," Hague said. "It's always fun watching such a young kid be so talented. He can hit the ball a long way and take over the game in a hurry."


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