Martinez comes out of NC State after 2 years with the Wolfpack, racking up 12 goals and 13 assists, after playing two years at High Point University. At High Point, Alex was named to the 2010 Big South All-Freshman team. He gained a similar honor at NC State when he was selected for the 2012 All-ACC First Team. According to College Sports Madness, Martinez knows how to get forward and maintain the ball in tight spaces, something the Red Bulls had a little trouble with on the wings last season. Martinez isn't a defensive workhorse, something that is a Red Bull staple in 2013, but that might be a good thing in this case. The reason I selected him was because he could play the wing and distribute the ball, something that is needed when crosses went wanting last year.
Alex Martinez is probably the most likely player to be around in the second round who could still make a difference for the Red Bulls. Martinez is the younger brother of RSL's Enzo Martinez. They are similar type of players - Alex prefers to stay on the wing more than Enzo though. Alex was great in 2012, but he was pretty average this season. It may have been a bad year just for NC State or ACC defenses learning how to defend him? Either way, I think he will be picked in the second or third round on draft day. He has some nice skills on the dribble and can whip in a cross. He is a bit small.
What the Red Bulls will be looking for in the draft: Mike Petke has already stated that he wants to find a defender who can play on the wing and join in the attack. With a wing player like Martinez, Petke might reconsider the attacking role.
Who the experts say the Red Bulls will pick: Both Soccer by Ives and Top Drawer soccer see the Red Bulls focusing on a forward with their second pick in the 2014 draft.Ives has the Red Bulls selecting Victor Chavez of UCLA, after Martinez is taken one pick before by Colorado. Top Drawer has the Red Bulls forgoing Martinez (who falls to #38) for Mark Sherrod of Memphis.
Why I’m invariably wrong: Petke doesn't seem to have a good relationship with those who show lackluster effort on the field, something that is a knock on Martinez's defensive effort. The Red Bulls are also pretty flush at the midfield position, especially after trading away a first round draft pick to acquire Bobby Convey, who is a winger himself.
Why I’m smarter than the pundits: While Lloyd Sam played his way out of Petke's dog house last year, he was injury prone, which may be why Convey was brought in. Eric Alexander and Jonny Steele are the other incumbent wings, but neither showed a lot of promise when it came to crossing the ball into the box. There are other midfielders like Ian Christianson, Michael Bustamante, and Marius Obekop, but they never saw a lot of first team action, so they probably aren't too high on Petke's radar.
Full Mock Draft results (click on player names to see the profiles)
|1. D.C. United||Black and Red United||Patrick Mullins|
|2. Philadelphia Union||Brotherly Game||Steve Neumann|
|3. Vancouver Whitecaps||86 Forever||Andre Blake|
|4. Columbus Crew||Massive Report||Steve Birnbaum|
|5. FC Dallas||Big D Soccer||Christian Dean|
|6. Union||Brotherly Game||Marlon Hairston|
|7. Whitecaps||86 Forever||Damion Lowe|
|8. Chicago Fire||Hot Time In Old Town||Grant Van De Casteele|
|9. San Jose Earthquakes||Quake, Rattle and Goal||Eric Miller|
|10. Montreal Impact||Mount Royal Soccer||A.J Corrado|
|11. Colorado Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Schillo Tshuma|
|12. New England Revolution||The Bent Musket||JJ Koval|
|13. Seattle Sounders||Sounder at Heart||Aodhan Quinn|
|14. LA Galaxy||LAG Confidential||Fifi Baiden|
|15. Toronto FC||Waking the Red||AJ Cochran|
|16. Houston Dynamo||Dynamo Theory||Mamadou Diouf|
|17. Portland Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Reinaldo Brenes|
|18. Real Salt Lake||RSL Soapbox||Ben Sweat|
|19. Revolution||The Bent Musket||Marco Franco|
|20. Chivas USA||The Goat Parade||Enrique Cardenas|
|21. Sounders||Sounder at Heart||Taylor Peay|
|22. New York Red Bulls||Once a Metro||Pete Caringi|
|23. Crew||Massive Report||Pedro Ribeiro|
|24. Toronto FC||Waking the Red||Joey Dillon|
|25. Union||Brotherly Game||Jared Watts|
|26. Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Kevin Cope|
|27. Union||Brotherly Game||Kyle Venter|
|28. Earthquakes||Quake, Rattle and Goal||Mackenzie Pridham|
|29. Impact||Mout Royal Soccer||Jimmy Ockford|
|30. Whitecaps||86 Forever||Nikita Kotlov|
|31. Revolution||The Bent Musket||Victor Chavez|
|32. Dynamo||Dynamo Theory||Kristopher Tyrpak|
|33. Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Rafael Diaz|
|34. Red bulls||Once a Metro||Alex Martinez|
|35. Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Zach Bolden|
|36. Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Mark Sherrod|
|37. Impact||Mout Royal Soccer||Michael Calderon|
|38. Sporting Kansas City||The Daily Wiz|