The Curious Case of Carlos Martinez

Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Have you enjoyed watching the 22-year-old Carlos Martinez pitch so far in the postseason? I know I have. There aren’t many other young arms with more electric stuff than Martinez–or “Baby Pedro” as many people call him.

Martinez throws two types of fastballs–the four-seamer and the two-seamer/sinker. His four-seam fastball has averaged 99.53 MPH with 5.04 inches of horizontal (tailing) movement in the playoffs. His two-seam fastball has averaged 97.06 MPH with an incredible 8.64 inches of horizontal (tailing) movement–that’s over half of the width of home plate!

Finally, the devastating slider that he broke off a couple of times in Game 2 of the World Series–83.73 MPH with 8.07 inches of snapping movement across the plate, away from right-handed hitters. This amount of movement, combined with his overpowering velocity and ability to change speeds, is almost unfair on hitters. In short, his stuff is absolutely filthy.

Well, to be frank, St. Louis is pretty lucky to even have him on the roster, and Boston fans must be cringing every single time they see him succeed on the mound–especially against their team in the World Series. Back in 2009, when Martinez was only 17 years old, he was signed by the Boston Red Sox. At that time, he was signed by the name of Carlos Matias. Rumors have it that the Red Sox signed him for less than $200,000–a steal given his supreme talent. However, just a few weeks into his professional career, an investigation transpired.

Consistent with all international signees, the MLB ran a background check and found out that Carlos Matias was actually Carlos Martinez, and because of this, his contract with the Red Sox was null and void. Martinez was suspended from baseball for one year, and it was during this time that he continued to develop his electric fastball–creating a buzz around organizations throughout the league.

When his suspension expired in 2010, the Cardinals jumped on the opportunity–signing the young right-hander for a reported $1.5 million signing bonus, and the rest is history. Just three years after his signing, Martinez is playing a key role in the success of the Cardinals.

Is Martinez’s future in the starting rotation or at the back of the bullpen? That is yet to be seen, but let’s enjoy his electric stuff in the seventh and/or eighth inning(s) for the rest of the World Series. I anticipate the remaining games to be close like Game 2. Given Matheny’s confidence in the rookie, Martinez will play a key role in determining whether or not the Cardinals can take home their 12th World Series title.

Boy, I am overjoyed that he is in the St. Louis dugout and not the Boston dugout. Both the present and future are bright with him wearing the “Birds on the Bat.”

Go Cards!

Until next time…

Joe

This was just a brief breakdown of the situation, mainly from a Cardinals perspective. If you would like a Boston perspective, the Full Count blog, part of the WEEI.com Network, has a great piece you can check out as well.

For more updates, follow me on Twitter: @stlCupofJoe

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