Ethan Martin Seems Destined for the Bullpen
On August 2, Ethan Martin made his Major League debut starting against the Atlanta Braves. He featured a mid-90’s fastball, a looping curve, and a mid-80’s slider. He pitched well until a five-run fifth inning ended his night.
Over his first five starts, Martin has a 6.33 ERA but it doesn’t speak to how well he has pitched. He has averaged better than a strikeout per inning. The biggest culprits have been a 13 percent walk rate and six home runs allowed over 21 and one-third innings.
Clearly, Martin has the stuff to succeed at the Major League level, but that success may end up coming as a reliever rather than as a starter.
Martin’s velocity immediately begins declining in his second inning of work and loses as much as 2 MPH by the third inning. Additionally, his strikeout rate dips in the fourth through sixth innings compared to the first through third innings:
Of course, 40-60 PA does not constitute much of a sample, but we are simply identifying trends we already knew existed.
Believe it or not, the Phillies will be fine with a 2014 bullpen that includes Jonathan Papelbon, a presumably healthy Mike Adams, Antonio Bastardo, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, and Martin. The starting rotation has enough question marks as it is pertaining to the future of Roy Halladay and the value of retaining one or both of Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan.