I like guys like Nick Martinez. An infielder at Fordham University in the Bronx, he hit .295 in 148 games over 3 seasons. He scored 109 runs and stole 22 bases. So the Rangers drafted him as a pitcher. Of course they did. It wasn't like he'd never done it. He did make a whopping 15 appearances on the mound during those 3 years, amassing a grand total of 26.1 innings pitched and a gangly 5.47 ERA. That was good enough for Texas. They saw a little sumpin' in his athleticism and mechanics, so they popped him in the 18th round of the 2011 draft. A Miami kid, Nick attended Belen Jesuit High School which appears to have a pretty damn interesting history given the fact that it was originally in Cuba, Castro went there, then after he took power and expelled the Jesuits, they moved the school to Miami. Oh, and Perez Hilton attended Belen as well.
So after a solid 2012 in Hickory, Nick's expected to be a part of the Myrtle Beach rotation in 2013. 117.1ip, 37bb, 109k, 8HR surrendered in 20 starts and 31 total appearances is pretty dang good for your first full season as a pitcher. Add up the numbers and the potential and you've got a fun kid to track. Nick was studying Business with a concentration in Finance before he had a chance to, ya know, play professional baseball, but he promises all the Lone Star Ball readers that he will return to Fordham to complete his degree. That last part is not true, but he did tell me will do it. I just don't think he needs to make assurances to you. Anyways.
So here's a quirky questionnaire I gave him, along with his answers. For optimal reading pleasure, DO NOT TAKE THIS TOO SERIOUSLY. That would be sillier than a slip n' slide caked in peanut butter. I love minor league baseball and its cast of characters. Yes, some are captivating prospects and some are not, but many of them are amusing to me, and all of them are real people. Seriously, I've stood in front of them. They're like, real. Some are boring, some aren't very bright, some are nuts, some are calm. Some are funny, some self-aware, some are focused, some are oblivious. But they're all real. So without further ado, here's our new friend, Nick Martinez:
[Editorial note: understand that in today's Twitter-centric universe, "haha" basically indicates that the subject understands the frivolous nature of the words, and he's in on the joke.]
1. How many tall are you right now? In feet and inches:
2. How much weight are you right now? In pounds:
3. Tell the folks at home what you throw, pitch-wise?
FB, CB, SLI, CHG (working on a 2 seam)
4. It appears you’ve basically lived in Miami, New York City, and
Hickory, North Carolina. Do those 3 places have anything in common other than minor league baseball teams? (Ha!)
Well I don’t know if there is a connection haha
5. You were playing in the "Fordham Flip" game, is that the wildest thing you’ve ever seen on a baseball field?
Amazing 'Fordham Flip' - Kownacki's Incredible Leap (via mediahangouttube)
That was an amazing game, not many people know but I actually get like 5 seconds of fame in that video. I was on deck when that happened, I’m wearing number 10 in the video. And yes that was the wildest thing I have ever seen on a diamond.
6. Who was the toughest guy on last year’s Hickory squad? I mean just overall, who was the baddest dude? The guy you’d least like to mess with?
The baddest dude on our hickory squad? I would have to say…
Big Jeremy Williams, just raw power one of the strongest dudes in the clubhouse but at the same time one of the nicest guys in there. I just wouldn’t want to get him mad haha
7. Ever pitch backwards?
Well pitching backwards in terms of pitch sequence yea I’ve done that. Haha
8. Other than clichés like; "staying healthy", "fine tuning my command", and "getting better everyday", what specifically, are your baseball goals for 2013? What is the one pitch in your repertoire you want to improve most this season?
The one pitch I want to improve/perfect this year is my slider. I feel like if I can become more consistent with that pitch it will propel me forward in my career. I believe its such an effective pitch, whether it be a swing and miss pitch or a contact (for groundball) pitch.
9. Tell the truth. Do pitchers ever consciously think about the defensive abilities of the guys behind them? I mean, having guys like Sardi, Roogie, and Hanser back there was/is fun to watch and to write about, but does their ability ever come into your mind while pitching?
Well, first off, being an infielder in college I completely understand when guys make errors. I mean, I was often that guy that made the costly error in a game however; I was also the guy that saved a run. So for me when a teammate makes an error I don’t get upset. But for some of the other guys I don’t think they question our infielders ability but some times get frustrated because they know how good our infielders are and can be. But they never question their ability.
10. Name one big league ballpark, other than Rangers Ballpark, you’d love to pitch in at least once. Also, name one specific current big league hitter you’d love to face.
Yankee Stadium for sure. Went to college just 5 minutes away found myself in the cheap seats at Yankee stadium many Friday nights with my roommate and friends, just a lot of memories in that stadium and in that city.
11. Do you miss playing in the field and hitting? Is it like actors who want to direct and vice versa? Do all pitchers want to be shortstops?
I absolutely miss playing the field. I think I miss playing the field more than hitting but I still miss both. Haha I do believe all pitchers want to be SS’s. That’s definitely the position we fantasize the most while we are taking PFP’s.
12. Let’s give one shout-out to a person, outside of your immediate family, who has been instrumental in your baseball growth. Could be a coach/scout/teammate, whomever. Just the one person you love to see in the stands when you play.
Seeing my college buddies in the stands when I pitched in Lakewood was awesome for me. I know my family will always be there to support me but seeing those guys in the stands was special.
Alright no problem. Those were some fun questions. Take care.
Thank you Nick Martinez. Best of luck. We'll be watching. Love Ya!