Martes’ control issues
As the No. 1 prospect in the Astros farm system, Martes had extremely high expectations coming into his major league debut despite struggling at Triple-A Fresno this season. Coming into his debut, he had a 5.29 ERA with a 2.10 WHIP through eight starts with the Grizzlies.
The strikeouts were still there, with 38 strikeouts in 32.1 innings of work, but control was a huge issue. He gave up more walks than strikeouts in his Triple-A stint, averaging 7.79 walks per nine innings of work.
That issue of control did not stay in California when he was called up to the big leagues. Through four appearances, Martes has thrown 11 walks in 16.1 innings of work, walking batters 14.7 percent of the time.
However, control can be fixed. What makes Martes a top prospect is the raw swing-and-miss stuff he throws. With a fastball that averages 95.6 mph and a mid-eighties slider, he is already fooling hitters. Striking out opposing batters 21.3 percent of the time, Martes has 16 strikeouts in his 16.1 innings of work. Also, with a batting average against of .254, he has shown that opposing hitters have a difficult time of hitting against him.
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Martes’ last start against the Seattle Mariners is a perfect picture of his struggles early on. Lasting only two innings, he gave up two earned runs on only two hits while walking four and striking out three. The problem through two was his high pitch count. When Astros manager A.J. Hinch pulled Martes to begin the third inning, he was already at 63 pitches, throwing strikes only 54 percent of the time.
Overall, Martes’ major league stats do not look great. He has a 5.51 ERA with a 1.59 WHIP through four appearances, three of which were starts. However, the electric fastball/slider combination and high strikeout potential put his control problems on the backburner.