On Tuesday afternoon, the New York Yankees made another interesting move that has added to their theme of the offseason. They acquired 28-year-old right-handed pitcher Chris Martin from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for cash considerations. If you remember last season, the Yankees made a similar deal with Colorado for Chris Capuano, who will be back with the team for the 2015 season.
Martin’s story is very intriguing when you consider the road that he has had to travel to get to this point. Anthony McCaron of the New York Daily News wrote an article on Martin and the path he took to get to the Red Sox in 2011.The 6”8 right-hander was drafted twice, once by the Tigers in the 18th Round of the 2004 MLB Draft and by the Colorado Rockies in the 21st round in the following year, but he was not able to reach a deal with either club.
McCaron talks about in his piece how in 2011, he Red Sox invited him for a tryout, but somehow, Martin had to find a way to get there on his own dime. It turns out his dad pays for the trip from Arlington, Texas to Boston’s complex in Fort Myers, but the trip turned out to be successful for Martin.
He spent three seasons in the Red Sox farm system, culminating in AAA with Pawtucket in 2013 after being called up from AA Portland during the season. During that season, he went 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 30 appearances. He had 47 strikeouts to 10 walks during that season and gave up one hit per inning.
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Then, in 2014, Martin goes to Colorado Springs when he joins the Rockies organization and plays for the AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox. In 25 games in Colorado Springs, he went 1-3 with a 4.39 ERA and had a 1.58 WHIP. Plus, he was a closer during last season as he recorded five saves, second on the Colorado Springs’ squad.
When I dove into Martin’s numbers more closely, he was a much better pitcher away from Colorado Springs in the Pacific Coast League. In 12 games in relief, he had a 1.93 ERA and converted all four of his save opportunities.He had 36 strikeouts in 26.2 innings, which amounts in 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings, which led all pitchers on the team in that category regarding pitchers who have made ten or more outings.
He made his major league debut on April 26 against the Los Angeles Dodgers and appeared in three games over a four-day period during that month. Martin seemed to have control of his stuff when you consider he had four walks in 15.2 IP and had 12 strikeouts.
While he did have a 6.99 ERA in the majors last year, once again, you have to dive into the home/road splits more carefully since it is not easy to pitch in Coors Field. In nine relief appearances on the road, he had a 3.00 ERA, giving up three runs. At home, he gave up nine runs and had a 12.15 ERA in seven appearances. As far as batting average against goes, hitters hit .387 against him at home compared to .294 on the road.
As Jack Curry pointed out in his tweet on Wednesday, Martin brings a 95 mph fastball to the mound as the Yankees continue them theme of adding power pitchers to the minor league system in their mid 20’s.
So, when you look at this deal for Chris Martin from a Yankees’ prospective, general manager Brian Cashman brings in a pitcher that cold benefit from pitching in a different ballpark, but also has experience pitching in a hitter-friendly stadium. Even pitching in the adverse conditions, he only surrendered two home runs in AAA and the majors in 2014.
We want to also remind you that Yanks Go Yard will have an interview airing with the newest Yankees’ reliever, Chris Martin, on the Yanks Go Yard Radio Show that will air TODAY at 4:30 PM ET.