“I think (the change was) just going out there and having fun again. It was one of the first times I have had fun out there since high school.”
When I talked to Marin in April, the 6’2″ Georgian was calm and relaxed, well aware of the fact that he was one step away from the Big Leagues but also knowing that he would have to earn his shot. Traded for Shane Victorino in July 2012, Martin exceeded expectations with Reading, going 5-0 in seven starts with a 3.18 ERA. Martin started 2013, his first full year with the Phillies organization, in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. At 23 years old, Marin stumbled out of the gate, not advancing beyond the fifth inning of any of his first five starts. Martin would soon find his groove, holding opposing hitters to a .226 BAA in his next 16 starts with a 3.26 ERA. His performance, combined with injuries to Roy Halladay, John Lannan, and brief Cliff Lee neck injury, earned him his first taste of the Major Leagues, an August 2 start against the Braves.
Hitting 97 MPH, Martin challenged the Braves but wound up losing in a 6-4 contest after giving up six earned runs. Much like many of his future starts, Martin’s potential was on display against the Braves, going after the eventual NL East champs with a mid-90s fastball. What helped do in Martin that night would be what nearly cost him his shot at the Majors in 2013: control. Martin would walk 26 hitters in 40 MLB innings, posting a 1.700 WHIP. Averaging 5.5 BB/9 IP in his Minor League career, Martin has always struggled with command and that may be the only factor keeping him from being a mid-rotation starter or high-quality, high-leverage reliever for a long time in baseball.
Martin made eight starts for the Phillies and seven appearances as a reliever as the injured starters returned. In his seven relief innings, Martin held opposing hitters to a .185 BAA but allowed them to reach base at a worrisome .290 clip. For the season, Martin averaged over a strikeout per inning pitched with the Phillies.
Grade: C-. With Martin, throw out the 6.60 ERA. Martin showed that he could routinely strikeout Major League hitters but he also showed that he can struggle greatly with command. Martin is a very intriguing internal option for 2014 as a right-handed reliever, with mid-90s gas and movement on his secondary pitches.