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Ed. Note: This was originally scheduled to run prior to the start of last night’s Braves-Phillies game, but Eric had trouble getting WiFi at the airport.
Tonight marks the debut of Ethan Martin, a 6’2” righty who was the primary return in the Shane Victorino trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer. Martin has one of the better arms in the system but also has a few issues that could prevent him from pitching as a starter long term. I’m writing this post in the Philly airport, waiting to board for a flight to Florida, so bear with its length, which is considerably shorter than you’re used to seeing from me.
Martin’s fastball will sit 92-95 MPH with some run. He’ll ramp it up to 97 here and there. His arm works well. He’s loose and athletic, and such a clean arm action has certainly contributed to a remarkably durable Minor League career. He’ll also feature a hard slider in the mid to upper 80’s. It’s short and cutter-like most of the time, but here and there he’ll break one off that’s absolutely hellacious. Overall, it’s an average pitch, mostly thanks to its exceptional velocity. Scouts tend to favor his curveball, which he throws a bit less, a more vertically-oriented offering. He lacks a viable change-up.
Despite the athleticism, Martin struggles to repeat his delivery and release point. This leads to below-average control and command. Martin’s pitch count usually tops out around 100 pitches per start and he’ll typically throw about 55 percent of those for strikes. This is the primary reason many feel his eventual role will be in the bullpen. It’s a shame, as he’s been a citadel of perfect health throughout his career. I’m not even concerned about his lack of change-up. Plenty of starters don’t have one.
Aaand they’re calling me to board. I’m more inclined to let Martin start than most others seem to be right now. There’s really nothing to lose and there’s a non-zero chance he figures things out. If he does stick, he’s a back-end starter. In the bullpen, he’s a potential eighth-inning arm with an outside shot to close.
. . .
Bill again. I thought it’d be a good idea to supplement Eric’s post with a few .gifs of some pitches Martin threw last night against the Braves.
He didn’t throw any change-ups last night.