Adding Carlos Martinez

As a rather big fan of Carlos Martinez, it was disappointing to see him relegated to bullpen duty to start the season. Fortunately, that created a bit of leeway to get him on the cheap once he became a starter. I grabbed him right when the Cardinals opted to go with him over Tim Cooney, who I also own in dynasty and think will be a good starter if he gets his triple-A homer issues under control, and I have enjoyed a solid couple of weeks out of Martinez.

He was less than stellar as a reliever, which is still a cause for concern going forward with him in the rotation, but over his 18.1 innings pitched as a starter he has a 2.45 ERA and is owned in just 35% of Yahoo! leagues. He may be owned in most of the more competitive leagues, but that doesn’t mean he is unavailable. Going after him now via a trade could still net you some solid value as his season stats are not in line with his numbers as a starter.

His lack of command as a starter is concerning but his 11.4% K-BB rate is just under the league average for starters – which is 12.1%. His velocity has dropped in his move to the rotation, as expected, but he still has been throwing around 95 mph with his fastball. In fact, his best start was his most recent start against the Giants and he actually averaged 94 mph with his fastball while he was sitting at about 96 in his previous three starts. He was still in the process of getting stretched out and pitched five complete innings for only the second time in his four starts.

One of the more attractive attributes of Martinez has been his ability to suppress home runs. He does have command issues, but his high strikeout capabilities due to his higher than average velocity and his ability to suppress home runs helps even out his controllable results.

ZiPS and Steamer both have Martinez at around a 3.70-3.80 ERA over the remainder of the season split between the rotation and bullpen. With Michael Wacha on the mend for another two weeks and Shelby Miller struggling, Martinez has a good chance to stay in the rotation as long as he continues to perform.

The Cardinal offense has not been what we expected so far, but they still have some powerful bats and Matt Adams has started to hit for the power expected. If they hit better in the second half and Martinez continues to strike out about 20%+ of batters faced while suppressing home runs, he could be a pretty valuable starter on your roster going forward. There are a lot of ifs in that statement, but many of them are feasible. I wish Martinez had a more quality third pitch, but for how inexpensive he is I find him to be one of the more attractive pitchers out on the waiver wire.

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Ben Duronio writes for Capitol Avenue Club, FanGraphs, and does the Sports Illustrated Power Rankings. Follow Ben on twitter @Ben_Duronio.

5 Responses to “Adding Carlos Martinez”

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  1. Neal says:

    Who do you think has more value ROS: Martinez or Gausman?

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    • Brian says:

      I would lean towards Gausman solely because I don’t think the Cardinals would hesitate to put Martinez back in the bullpen as soon as Wacha is back. The Orioles have been dicking Gausman around but I think he will be back up for good by August.

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  2. The Humber Games says:

    No concerns about LHB/RHB splits? Or are those being dismissed for sample size?

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  3. thistakesgumption says:

    > One of the more attractive attributes of Martinez has been his ability to suppress home runs.

    pretty crazy to say this after so few innings. unless you’re just talking about his low fb%? weird to call that suppressing home runs but sure i guess.

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    • Lanidrac says:

      He did give up two dingers tonight, but before that he had a 0.33 HR/9 rate in 81.1 career IP, and he was always good at it in the minors, as well.

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