Last year, Italian clubs Fortitudo Bologna and A.S.D. Rimini surprised the Dutch baseball world by acquiring two players from the Dutch competition for the 2018 season. This year another hoofdklasse player heads South. Jarreau Martina will join Fortitudo Bologna for the 2019 season.
After a season of absence due to professional obligations, Martina returned to De Glaskoning Twins in 2018. With that club, he proved his value both as a catcher and as an outfielder.
In general, catchers aren’t the best hitters but Jarreau is an exception that makes the rule as he hit a respectable .272/.338/.356. Jarreau isn’t the power hitting type of catcher but merely a speedy one. That is the reason why he batted leadoff most of the time last year. As a result of his speed, Martina stole a team-leading 20 bases in 2018.
Most of the time you can see Martina with a big grin on his face which is the reason why his teammates call him smiley.
One of his defensive strengths is his strong arm next to his ability to block balls.
Jarreau grew up with baseball as his mother was a softball player at a high level. His mother wanted him to pick a sport and since his friend spent a lot of time around the baseball diamond, Martina’s choice for baseball did not come as a surprise.
He did not always play as a backstop. He started playing baseball as a pitcher but when he hardly got playing time during the Cal Ripken World Series, he decided to become the other part of a battery.
Last year’s manager Kevin Knollenburg picked Jarreau to be the team captain because he knew how to inspire other players. In 2018, he split time behind the plate with youngster Dave Janssen.
With Fortitudo Bologna, Martina will likely split time with catcher Marval Osman.