After a disappointing 2018 season, Brett Martin was nearing the time where he needed to show enough improvement to help out the MLB squad or find himself in uncertain territory in regards to the 40-man roster. Brett Martin wasn’t struggling to strike people out, was controlling his walk rate. and mostly kept the ball in the yard, but hitters had no problem squaring up his fastball sharply for plenty of hits and runs. After a stint training in Seattle with Driveline and reports that he’s much more comfortable in his new role in the bullpen, Martin has seen impressive results both in Spring Training and with AAA Nashville.
Brett Martin has a tall and lean frame — he’s listed at 6’4” 190 lbs, and he has long wiry levers and broad shoulders. While he doesn’t look completely filled out up top, his lower body is strong and he likely won’t put on much, if any, more weight. Martin is an above average athlete with a high waist and quick controlled movements. He delivers over the top with a clean arm action that uses his height and length to his advantage.
When Martin was starting, he worked 91-93 with a flat 4-seam fastball. After the move to the pen, his fastball was 92-94 T 96 that still didn’t show much life. He supplements the fastball with a 84-85 plus changeup with plus deception, tumble, and slight fade. Later in 2018 he added a plus 82-84 slider with plus dive which he started using more often than his 77-79 true curveball that occasionally flashed average.
When starting, Martin was forced to lean heavily on the fastball to setup the use of his primary weapon, the changeup. Unfortunately hitters didn’t struggle to pick up the fastball and when it wasn’t perfectly located it was laced for line drives. This lead to some strange stat lines where Martin missed plenty of bats with the CH/SL, but struggled to get through multiple innings without a lot of hard contact due to hitters squaring up the fastball.
As a reliever in shorter stints, Martin can lean much more on the SL/CH as he doesn’t need to worry about getting hitters different looks 2-3 times through the order. In addition, reports are that Martin feels much more comfortable out of the pen. Confidence is often underrated in its importance, but the ability to attack hitters even after mistakes get punished is vital.
Overall, Martin has the stuff to be a quality arm in the back of the bullpen where he can unleash his three primary offerings to his full potential. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised when it started sounding like he was destined for a full time bullpen role as his repertoire still seems like he could translate into a back of the rotation arm. Recently there have been multiple instances of FB/CH pitchers being more effective by utilizing their changeup to a greater extent than a pitcher might historically and I think Brett Martin could benefit from it. That being said, if Martin truly feels more comfortable and confident out of the pen and the Rangers think it will help him stay healthy, then it seems to be a well-thought out decision. Regardless of how he finally got their, I’m excited to see Brett Martin push through to the next level and take hold of an MLB roster spot.