top of page

Conversations with the Herd: Orelvis Martinez

By: Brian Frank

Orelvis Martinez is currently wielding one of the hottest bats in the International League. Not only is the 22-year-old slugger on a 15-game hitting streak, but he’s also displaying his prodigious power on an almost nightly basis.

“I’ve just been really confident,” Martinez said through interpreter Justin Echevarria in a recent interview with The Herd Chronicles. “It’s kind of like see ball, hit ball – and trust my plan.”

Martinez’s first home run of the Bisons six game series at Columbus will be one that’s talked about in central Ohio for many years to come. The majestic blast came in the top of the 10th inning with the score tied 8-8. Martinez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and drilled a 1-and-0 fastball from reliever Randy Labaut over the left-field wall at 113.8 mph. The ball traveled over the bleachers, across a wide walkway, and landed on a table in the Hall of Fame Bar, a second-floor restaurant at Huntington Park – 469 feet from home plate.

“I felt really good about it because I knew the guy threw hard,” Martinez said. “I knew he was going to attack me right away. I felt good. I put a good swing on it.”

Bisons manager Casey Candaele was impressed with the drive.

“The manager here (in Columbus), Andy Tracy, said that however long he’s been here (four seasons), he’s never seen a ball hit there,” Candaele said. “And it was hit pretty good too.”

In fact, nobody in Columbus seemed to remember a ball being hit into the restaurant.

When asked if it’s the longest home run he’d ever hit, Martinez responded, “Up until this point, I feel like it has been.”

What does it feel like to hit a ball that far?

“It’s almost like the culmination of all the work you put in – and you just take your frustration out on the ball,” Martinez chuckled. “It feels good.”

The spot where the 469-foot drive landed. Photo Credit: Brian Frank, The Herd Chronicles

After his grand slam into the restaurant gave the Bisons a 12-8 lead in extra innings on Wednesday, Martinez hit a solo blast in the ninth inning on Thursday to give Buffalo an 8-7 lead. Then on Friday, he hit two home runs in his first two at-bats, including a 434-foot bomb, giving him three home runs in three consecutive at-bats, and five home runs in five games. On Sunday, he added a 410-foot three-run blast over the batting eye in center field. In the six-game series at Columbus, he slashed .357/.419/.929 with five home runs, one doubles, 13 RBIs, and an eye popping 1.348 OPS.

“Baseball is so interesting and weird,” Candaele said. “When you get locked in you seem to get good pitches to hit. Everything just seems to be in sync. We obviously know that he has massive power. If he hits the ball in the right place it’s gonna go – and that’s what he’s doing right now. He’s pretty locked in.”

Martinez credits his recent hot stretch to the hard work he’s putting in with Bisons hitting coach Ryan Long.

“I spent some time going over some video with Ryan Long,” Martinez explained. “Just seeing some of the areas I can make adjustments on – particularly where I’m looking in the zone, and I’ve been able to have success this week just because of that thought process.”

Currently the Blue Jays second ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, Martinez is used to hitting long home runs. In 2022, when he was just 20 years old, he blasted 30 home runs at Double-A New Hampshire to set the Fisher Cats single season franchise record. Last season, he drilled 17 for New Hampshire before being promoted to Buffalo, where he added another 11.

Martinez believes he learned a lot in his 55 games at the Triple-A level last season.

“Honestly, the biggest thing I learned was how to slow the game down,” he said. “I’ve learned that the little details matter within the game too. Also, how important it is from a game planning aspect when it comes to hitting and being able to adapt the plan and stick with it.”

Martinez has hit 64 home runs between New Hampshire and Buffalo the last three seasons. Photo Credit: Brian Frank

A natural shortstop, Martinez has spent most of his time in the Blue Jays minor-league system playing shortstop and third base. However, toward the end of last season he began to shift over to the right side of the diamond. This season, he’s been at second base in all 15 games he’s played the field.

“Up to this point, I’ve been feeling really good,” he said of playing second base. “There are little adjustments that I’ve had to make with the change of position, but I feel comfortable there.”

Candaele has noticed Martinez’s improvement on defense, something that has been a focus for the young prospect.

“He’s still learning things,” Candaele said. “(Bisons bench coach) Donnie Murphy has been working with him a lot. He’s improved and he’ll continue to improve because he’s got the talent. It’s just getting used to playing a different position. He was on the left side of the infield and now just getting used to being over there (on the right side) and the different nuances and different angles of balls, and turning double plays. It’s just a little bit different. We’ll try to get him over on the left side too, but it’s basically just trying to get him acclimated to feeling comfortable at second – and then we’ll mix in some games on the left side.”

Martinez knows what he has to do to take his game to the next level.

“Just focus on what I can control and the little details when it comes to defense,” he said. “But if I keep hitting, I feel like I’m going to keep putting my name on the map and the rest will take care of itself.”

For now, Bisons fans can sit back and enjoy watching Martinez continue to put on a show at Sahlen Field.

“It’s really fun,” Candaele said. “It’s kind of amazing. It’s like, if he makes an out, I’m like, ‘What are you doing? You’re not supposed to be doing that.’ (laughs) But, you just kind of marvel when things like this happen in the game. Obviously, hitting a home run every night is not going to happen. I mean, it could – theoretically it could. (laughs) But you just enjoy watching it and enjoy being there when it happens.”


bottom of page