St.Louis Cardinals’ Carlos Martinez: A Tale Of Two Seasons
Carlos Martinez throws hard. The St. Louis Cardinals rookie right handed pitcher has showed off his impressive stuff in relief this post-season. In 9.2 innings, he has allowed only four hits, with nine strikeouts and just two walks.
Martinez has always had great stuff. Originally signed by the Boston Red Sox as Carlos Matias (his uncle’s name), his contract was voided over concerns about his age and name, and MLB suspended him for a year. The Cardinals signed him in 2010. In parts of four minor league seasons, he showed off his dominant stuff by striking out nearly a quarter of the hitters that faced him.
He earned a callup on May 3rd of this year. Over the course of 28.1 innings and 21 appearances, Martinez had his moments of effectiveness. His 5.08 ERA was misleading, but his 19.4% strikeout rate was below the MLB average for relievers, as was his 8.6% swinging strike rate.
During the regular season, Martinez’ four-seam fastball averaged 97.6 miles per hour. Only Aroldis Chapman and Bruce Rondon could top that mark. His two-seamer averaged 94.5 miles per hour. Still, the two pitches possessed just a 7.8% swinging strike rate, a very average mark. 14 of his 374 fastballs touched 100 miles per hour or more.
The post-season has been a different story. Martinez’ four-seamer is averaging 99.5 miles per hour, and his two-seamer is sitting at 97. Not surprisingly, the whiff rate has shot up, to 13.3%. When hitters do make contact, they’re not doing much. 68% of balls put in play on Martinez this post-season have been ground balls. 10 of Martinez’ 83 fastballs have reached at least 100 miles per hour.
Oh, and if you didn’t see him petrify Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia last night, Martinez has a nasty breaking ball. Hitters have whiffed on half their swings against the pitch. The breaking ball has only been put in play twice, for two ground outs.
Carlos Martinez is reaching back for something extra, and hitters are looking helpless. All told, hitters have just a .129/.226/.182 line against Martinez. He’s struck out 27.3% of hitters. With closer Trevor Rosenthal allowing a .125/.185/.200 line and striking out 44.4% of hitters, the Boston Red Sox better hope to score early.