After back to back years of being an incredibly effective Starting Pitcher for one of the best teams in baseball, where’s the love for Carlos Martinez?!
Hurry up already, would ya? The hype train is about to leave the station. It’s already been sitting here for two years. Any longer and it’s going to turn in to a full on bandwagon. With how our society is these days, everyone wants to be the cool kid that was up on the latest trending player before anyone else was… so, to appease the masses, I am here to fill you in on who that player is going to be.
I have a hard time calling a guy with 358 strikeouts and a 30-16 record over the past two seasons just a “Trending Player” but unfortunately it seems as though nobody wants to really pay attention to Martinez. In fact, in almost all Fantasy Baseball rankings, he is listed as right around the #20 SP which would rank him in the third tier. Nobody with his skill set should ever drop into the third tier. He actually has the skill set to be a top 10 pitcher at some point.
What He Brings To The Table:
First off, this kid is ELECTRIC.
I’ve finally reached the age where I can justifiably call people kid and get away with it, so I am going to take full advantage.
One of my favorite stats to look at is speed differential. Having a vast difference between your fastest and slowest pitch is an attribute a lot of the great pitchers in the game have. Martinez is one guy that excels at this. A 15 MPH difference between pitches is considered a great variation in speed. Martinez actually takes that a step further. In his first 2017 start alone, his fastball hit 100 MPH routinely while his curve ball was all the way down in the upper 70s.
A 20+ MPH differential isn’t something that you see every day.
Not only that, Martinez is also one of the best pitchers in the league in terms of inducing ground balls. Last season his 56.4% GB rate was good enough for 4th amongst qualified starters. The combo of elite speed control and an uncanny ability to induce ground balls puts the 25 year old on the path to becoming one of the most popular Fantasy Baseball trade targets by mid season.
The fantasy outlook for Martinez is extremely high. Granted, he does walk his fare share of batters (3.2 career BB/9) and his WHIP leaves a bit to be desired (1.28 career), those are an aspect of the game that will get better the older and more experienced he gets. If you were to use his first game this season as an indicator, he has already made improvements in both categories. Although he didn’t get the win (Damn you Oh!) he still ended the game pitching 7.1 innings, gave up 6 hits, no runs, no walks and struck out 10. And, oh ya, it was against the defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.
From the 2015 to 2016 season, Martinez made some tweaks to his game that showed he has the ability to adapt his pitching style and trust in his defense a little more. His K/9 was down more than 1 per game and his BB/9 went up, but he improved in many other key areas. His BAA, WHIP, BABIP and LOB% were all career bests.
If you drafted Martinez as a second or third SP on your roster, you hit the jackpot. If you didn’t, trade for him quickly before his stock continues to rise. He has all the intangibles needed to creep up into the low tier 1 / high tier 2 SP range sooner rather than later.
Don’t be surprised when he ends the year 20-7 with 200+ K and an ERA in the 2.90 range.