Yet again, Carlos Martinez dazzled on the mound for St. Louis. He finished the year with a 16-9 record to go along with a 3.04 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Martinez managed to keep batters guessing at the plate, as he threw his 95 mph fastball just 58 percent of the time and regularly mixed in a slider, changeup, and curveball. He also continued forcing batters to hit grounders and recorded a GB/FB identical to 2015's mark of 2.49, which resulted in a HR/9 of just 0.69 and forcing 33 batters to ground into double plays, the second most in the league. Although he limited batters to a .233 batting average, a lack of control was a byproduct of his pitch variety and resulted in a walk rate that was nearly nine percent. His ERA likely will regress to a higher figure, but fortunately for the club and fantasy owners, Martinez will be only 25 years old when the 2017 campaign begins, so he still has time to further refine his arsenal and move into the ace conversation.
Martinez gave up two earned runs on three hits and two walks over five innings in Monday's 3-2 Grapefruit League win over the Astros. He struck out two. Martinez picked up his third victory of spring while putting in his final work before the regular season. His troubles were limited to the first inning, when he gave up both runs on a Carlos Beltran infield single and Brian McCann sacrifice fly. The Cardinals ace then limited the Astros to one infield hit over four subsequent frames as per Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The game served as solid tune-up appearance for Martinez in anticipation of an Opening Day matchup versus a Cubs squad that he struggled against (1-3, 4.80 ERA over five starts) in 2016.
Martinez (2-0) fired five scoreless innings in Wednesday's 6-1 Grapefruit League win over the Nationals, giving up three hits and recording three strikeouts. Fresh off being named the Opening Day starter, Martinez looked every bit the part against a Nationals lineup replete with regulars. Martinez regularly hit 96 mph with his fastball while his changeup was consistently in the mid-80s. The hard-throwing righty also broke three bats and fired 42 of his 66 pitches for strikes. Martinez is slated for one more tune-up before taking the mound on April 2 versus the Cubs.
Martinez will be the Cardinals' Opening Day starter, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports. Martinez will face Jon Lester and the Cubs in the Sunday night opener, with Adam Wainwright and (presumably) Jake Arrieta then squaring off Tuesday in the second game of the series. Martinez is back in Cardinals camp and scheduled to start Wednesday's Grapefruit League matchup for the Nationals, after striking out eight batters while allowing one earned run over eight innings at the World Baseball Classic.
Martinez is back in Cardinals camp from the World Baseball Classic and will start Wednesday against the Nationals, Glenn Sattell of MLB.com reports. The Cardinals ace will make his first Grapefruit League start since March 1, when he blanked the Mets over three innings. Martinez looked to be in mid-season form at the WBC, going 1-1 with a 1.13 ERA and eight whiffs over eight innings and reaching a 75-pitch threshold. A candidate to be named St. Louis' Opening Day starter, Martinez may get one more spring start after Wednesday.
Martinez was credited with the victory in Team Dominican Republic's 9-2 victory over Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic Pool C opener Thursday, surrendering one unearned run on three hits over four innings. He struck out four. The Cardinals' ace had a little extra juice in his potent right arm, topping out with pitches that registered at 100.4 and 100.6 mph on the radar gun. Martinez fired seven pitches overall that hit or eclipsed the 95 mph mark, and he cruised through two scoreless frames before allowing his only run in the third on a sequence that included a throwing error by shortstop Jose Reyes and a balk. He threw 53 pitches overall and will be available for one more WBC start if Team Dominican Republic advances to second-round play.