Last night, Pedro Martinez reminded everyone why he’s going to Cooperstown when he retires. Unable to find a job until the second half of the season, Martinez was something of an experiment for the Phillies. Consider it a successful gamble.
His fastball hit 92 last night, and he’s averaging 88-89 with it again, not that far off from where it was in his heyday. His change-up is still as nasty as ever, and he had it working last night, getting swinging strikes with four of the 20 that he threw. Even after adjusting for the fact that the Giants offense is pretty miserable, Pedro was still terrific last night – 7 innings, 5 hits, 0 walks, 9 strikeouts, 87 pitches.
For the season, Pedro has now thrown 23 innings and ran a 4/23 BB/K rate. He’s still prone to the longball, but even giving up frequent home runs, his FIP stands at 3.74. Given his command of the strike zone and ability to keep hitters off balance, Martinez is still capable of shutting teams down on any given night. Durability is going to be a constant question with him, but his ability to get big league hitters out should not be.
The rejuvenation of a former ace coming off arm problems serves as yet another reminder that we don’t really have any credible way of judging when a player is washed up. Seemingly every time someone publishes a eulogy on an active player, he finds the fountain of youth and makes them eat their words.
Maybe Pedro wasn’t so crazy to ask for $5 million last winter. He’s still got the stuff to be worth twice that.