Pitching has always been the main priority for the Cardinals and this season will be no different. There is one young pitcher though that we should all be excited to see pitch through his second full year.
Last season, the Cardinals’ success was defined by historic pitching. Our offense, while still anemic, could always get the job done when the pitching staff would rarely ever let up more than 2 or 3 runs. The records that the team held when scoring what most consider to be a very low amount of runs (2-3 runs a game) were astounding. The old adage still held true. Pitching always beats hitting.
Our pitching staff lost its anchor in Adam Wainwright at the beginning of the season. Most teams would not expect to put up unprecedented numbers like the Cardinals did. But a rotation lead by a veteran presence and backed up by young fire power got the job done and then some. But there was one pitcher that really shined and blasted past expectations last season and he is known simply as Carlos Martinez (among other things).
The 2015 season was Martinez’s first as a full time starter for the Cardinals. Most did not expect him to pitch past 140-150 innings and definitely did not expect him to go past the 5th inning a lot in his starts. This did not matter to the Tsunami known as Martinez. He blew past these expectations and tallied a 3.01 ERA which is very impressive as a first year starter. He did all of this while having a K/9 of 9.2 and a ground ball rate that was in the top 10 for the majors.
Adam Wainwright on Carlos Martinez facing live hitters today: "I think he looked better than anyone I’ve ever seen." https://t.co/DzpGyWHGuv
— Drew Silva (@drewsilv) March 4, 2016
The only players in their age 23 season as full time starters to have a sub 3.1 ERA and more than a strikeout an inning, Martinez and a guy that you may have heard of by the name of Clayton Kershaw. Yes that Kershaw.
This is the kind of talent the Cardinals have on their hands in the form of Martinez. It has been years since we have had a pitcher who can go out on the mound and throw 4 plus plus pitches for strikes. His slider is ranked among the best in the game. His fastball hits 100. His change-up is the best on the staff (sorry Michael Wacha fans, just accept it). And his sinker, well there is a reason as to why he is in the top-10 for ground ball rate.
Talent like this does not come around all that often even if it may be in a smaller than usual package. Martinez is only 6’1″ and a buck 85. Despite this, Martinez could go on to do extremely amazing things with his career. He has the arm to carry home multiple Cy young awards for the Cardinals over the next decade or so. I would not be surprised, provided he stays healthy, if he were to garner some Cy attention this year. He is now a year older and wiser. He knows that when he takes that ball, he can pitch with the best of them.
I think we will be seeing a lot of that this season
-Hope You Enjoyed