Thursday and Friday saw the starting pitching debuts of two of the MLB’s most promising young players. One being Carlos Martinez, the 23 year-old fireballer who has been in the Cardinal bullpen the last few years. However, after the mid-season trade that sent Joe Kelly to Boston and the offseason trade that sent Shelby Miller to Atlanta, Martinez suddenly finds himself as the favorite for the fifth spot in the Cardinals rotation. Martinez has three solid pitches, as well as a change-up with a lot of potential, although Martinez has trouble throwing it for strikes.
Martinez worked with his change-up this offseason though, and management is higher on Martinez than ever. Many fans (myself included) and Cardinal beat writers were excited about Martinez’s debut Thursday, and when his day was done there was nothing anyone could do but rave about his first start. Martinez went through two perfect innings, striking out three. The righty threw 29 pitches, 22 for strikes, and let only one ball out of the infield, and that was to 300 million dollar man Giancarlo Stanton on a count of 0-2 . Martinez is competing with rookie Marco Gonzalez for the fifth spot, and after Thursday’s start manager Mike Matheny had this to say, “I saw a guy who’s trying to win a job.” The young flamethrower’s continued progression will be something to watch as the Spring progresses and the season gets closer.