by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Texas Rangers recently made the surprising announcement that Nick Martinez would fill a spot in their rotation to open the season… Wait, who? You likely aren’t alone if the name isn’t familiar, as the 2011 18th round draft pick has thrown just 32.0 innings above High-A (all at Double-A last season).
Martinez also hasn’t gotten much love from the prospect experts, falling outside the Top 10 Ranger top prospect lists across the board. A deep farm system could be an excuse, except the reports aren’t necessarily glowing.
John Sickels of Minor League Ball, who ranked him 12th, said (click here for the full Top 20 list):
“Athletic right-hander out of Fordham shows strong command of three pitches and clean, easy mechanics. Could be strike-throwing inning-eating starter or a really good middle reliever.”
Baseball Instinct, which slotted him 16th, said (click here for their full Top 21):
“Martinez is a ground ball pitch who uses a 3 pitch repertoire that includes a 92-93 mph fastball, an average curveball, and an average change up… He’s got back of the rotation upside.”
Still, it’s hard to ignore the numbers. In 321.1 career innings Martinez has posted an 8.12 K/9 and 2.74 BB/9. He’s also generated a 45.3% groundball rate. Hardly blow away numbers, but viable… The question is if they will translate to the Major Leagues or not.
That’s the million dollar question, and one that we really can’t answer. As it is, his time in the Majors should be short. Yu Darvish isn’t expected to be out too long and Matt Harrison is on the mend. With Scott Baker and Colby Lewis looming in the minors, there are clear reinforcements on the way.
That’s not to say that Martinez couldn’t be a short-term plug-in, but given the scouting reports and the likelihood that he’s only going to et a handful of starts, there’s no reason to bother.
Sources – Baseball Instinct, Minor League Ball, Baseball Reference, Minor League Central
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