SURPRISE, Ariz. – Nick Martinez has been named as the Texas Rangers 5th starter.
Rangers amend plan: Nick Martinez currently scheduled to start 5th game of season.
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) March 26, 2014
This has surprised and confused many fans, especially since most have never heard of the right-handed pitcher. Let me give you the 4-1-1 on the Texas Rangers’ #13 Top 20 Prospect.
The 23-year old Nick Martinez was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2011. Martinez is currently a starting pitcher for Double-A Frisco RoughRiders. He split last season between High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Frisco RoughRiders starting in 21 games for the Pelicans and four games for the RoughRiders. For the 2013 season Nick Martinez had a combined 2.50 ERA and a pitching line of 151.1 IP/117 H/53 R/42 ER/6 HR/45 BB/128 SO.
Although Martinez has only played in five games above high-A ball, his ability to put the ball where he wants it is impressive. Scott Lucas, minor-league writer for the Newberg Report, wrote about Nick Martinez last week while he was at the Texas Rangers camp.
In the 1st, Martinez’s FB ranged from 91-95, often with good movement, and he mixed in several solid changeups, a slider and curve. In mid-March, when many pitchers are still trying to sort out their repertoires, Martinez is throwing four pitches for quality strikes.” (Scott Lucas, http://www.newbergreport.com/)
Lucas posted these two videos of Nick Martinez one from last August in his third start above high-A
And one from his 3/18/2014 Farm Report
Now, I know there has been a lot of people asking, as one of my own friends did “That’s the best the Texas Rangers could do? A guy who’s barely been above Class A ball?” The simple answer, no. However, the logical answer, YES.
The Texas Rangers released Tommy Hanson who, if signed, would have cost the Texas Rangers a little over $1.5MM, as written about here by our very own Donny Hunt. Yu Darvish is not so injured that general manager Jon Daniels and skipper Ron Washington felt compelled to put him on the DL, therefore, JD is being economically responsible in turning to the Texas Rangers’ farm system. Going out and getting another top-notch pitcher would be an unnecessary purchase and waste of money.
So, look at Nick Martinez as a place holder if you will. Martinez is in the fifth spot, which means IF Darvish isn’t ready to come back by the fifth game of the season, Nick Martinez will probably get to pitch in ONE inning and if Yu Darvish is ready, which I know we are all praying he will be, Martinez will go about his merry way in Frisco and hopefully have a great season.
The positive take away from all of this hoopla around Nick Martinez? The Texas Rangers expect that Yu Darvish will back to his regular form in no time and aren’t worried. So, let’s all take a HUGE sigh of relief and welcome Nick Martinez with open arms. Even if it is as a place holder.