Martis is 5-0!

Though more of a Strat-o-Matic fan than a fantasy baseball enthusiast, I aid some friends in their decision making processes for the latter from time to time. Last night, while hanging out for the Phillies-Reds game, one of these friends posed a question I have been asked countless times this season: What do you think of Shairon Martis? While my response involved nothing more than a gesture, encapsulated in the body language was my lack of confidence in the pitcher.

For fantasy purposes, I can see where Martis has value since he sports a 5-0 record, but he isn’t really offering much outside of that meaningless metric, for both fantasy and reality.

Through eight starts, Martis is averaging right around 6 IP/GS with 47.2 total innings. His 4.53 ERA and 4.58 FIP match up rather well and scream average. Now, an average pitcher is certainly an asset for a team, but I am quite skeptical that Martis can continue to perform at a league average level with his current peripherals and skillset.

For starters, his 4.34 K/9 and 3.59 BB/9 do not exactly imply dominance. Martis is also very unlikely to sustain a .269 BABIP over the course of the season, an inevitable regression that will taint his current numbers regardless of a below average strand rate bound to improve.

Further, it also isn’t as if Martis throws like Johnny Cueto, a young stud with a blazing fastball that needs to work out a few kinks before graduating from Throwing College into Pitching University. Martis throws a 90.3 mph fastball with about average movement and does not exactly resemble Derek Lowe in the groundball department. On top of that, none of his pitches, per the fantastic linear weights addition to the site, are disgusting or supremely dominant in any fashion.

Listing comparables for a pitcher proves to be a rather tall order given the numerous facets of performance that must be taken into account, but the way Martis is currently pitching seems to closely match the output of Jason Marquis last season, at least in the ERA, FIP, K/9, BB/9 and HR/9 areas. Martis gets hype because of the 5-0 record and the fact that nobody has seen him in action before, but deep down, his performance to date is akin to 2008 Jason Marquis.

ZiPS projects Martis to end the season with a 4.89 FIP in about 162 innings, which, when coupled with the projected rates of controllable skills, resembles the 2008 campaign of Tim Redding. Martis is pitching like Marquis right now with the projection of Redding for the remainder of the season.

Martis is only 22 years old, which makes him very attractive in the world of keeper leagues, be it for fantasy or Strat purposes, but he has not done anything right now to suggest that he will be anything more than a marginal fourth starter. Bear in mind that my opinion is in no way concrete after some starts this year and a few more last season, and that these feelings are derived more from questioning his selection, movement and velocity as opposed to the actual results.

To walk hitters at his current rate and remain successful, a pitcher either needs to have a flukily good year preventing the longball or strike hitters out at a rate far superior to 4.34 per nine innings. Color me skeptical that Martis’ combination of velocity, movement, and pitch selection can definitely get that job done.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

6 Responses to “Martis is 5-0!”

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  1. vivaelpujols says:

    To be fair, Martis has had some decent peripherals in the minors the last few years. I would say he is more of a 6 K 3 BB type guy than what he is showing now.

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  2. drew says:

    “Though more of a Strat-o-Matic fan”

    Do you play online at sportingnews?

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    • Eric Seidman says:

      Nope, I play in a league with a bunch of guys from Chicago. I inherited a pretty poor team this year (my first yr in the league) but have turned it around pretty nicely.

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      • Brian Cartwright says:

        I heard that the BP editors don’t like the use of the word ‘pretty’ – getting it out of your system here?

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  3. fra paolo says:

    I’m not altogether sure about Martis’ lacking ‘stuff’. Martis has had two excellent hit-prevention starts.

    The one on 2 May was, I think, the best Nationals’ start of the season.

    The one on 13 May, was marred by a certain amount of wildness on his part which, as his BB/9 indicates, is a problem.

    He’s possibly got more potential than a lot of people would give him credit. I get the feeling he ‘knows how to pitch’, as the scouts put it, and can get by on a bit less gas than one might expect in one of his tender years. Right now, if you asked me whether Martis or Zimmermann would have the longer career, I might take Martis, but for that Fidrych-like K rate. As it is, I’d rate it a toss-up.

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  4. joe says:

    There is no comparison b/w Martis and Zimmerman. Zimmerman will be a legit #2 in a few years while Martis will likely find himself in long relief. Martis pitches well when he pitches with good pace, but once the league sees him a bit more and he doesn’t get the breaks of playing STL without Pujols he’ll decline steadily. The one hope he has to stick around is if he can continue to improve on his already good change up. That is his only chance, imo. His stuff is just too average, but that change could be a real weapon if he can hit the glove with it more consistently. All that said, the Nationals could very well have one of the best 3 rotations in the NL in the next 3-4 years. SS, Zimmerman, Det, Lannan could be a formidable 1-4. The mistake they made, as did many others, was not ponying up a bit to land Rich Hill while he was there and cheap.

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