After dominating the minors and a retooling of the pitching staff, Corbin Martin finds himself living his childhood dream, starting for the Astros.
You ask any kid from T-Ball to high school, what’s their goal? The answer will always be the same; to start in the major leagues. Some will name a team their favorite player plays for, some will name a team their fathers’ loved growing up, but almost always they will name their home-town team, as in the Astros. Corbin Martin is living just that dream.
Growing up only 30 minutes away from Minute Maid Park, the young Martin was a fan of the Astros from the get-go. Martin found himself dominating the high school ranks of Cypress Ranch High. Quickly becoming a Texas name to be noticed. Just the same, he found himself being recruited by Texas A&M and found success early on at the college level.
Martin began as a reliever for the Aggies but found himself being the Saturday starter in a miraculous 2017 season. Through 24 games that year, 13 of those starts Martin punched-out 90 batters and held a 5-2 record with a 3.58 ERA as a starter. The Aggies would ultimately lose out on the World Series, Martin, on the other hand, came out a winner.
One month removed from the College World Series, Martin found himself in another promising situation. The Houston Astros drafted him with the 56th selection of the 2017 draft. Immediately making his professional debut three weeks later with the Tri-City ValleyCats.
Across the 32.2 Innings, he fanned 43 batters and held opponents to a .158 average while maintaining a fantastic 11.3 K/9IP. The untapped potential was finally starting to blossom. Ending the 2017 season in Low A ball, the Astros immediately moved him up a level to Buies Creek.
In 2018, Martin found himself climbing the ranks early, being promoted from Buies Creek to (Double-A) Corpus Christi after only four games. While in Corpus, Martin flourished. Combined with his tenure in High A, he finished the 2018 season with 122 innings pitched, 122 strikeouts and a 2.51 ERA.
After just a year and a half of pro ball, the Astros saw something on Corbin that they couldn’t pass up on. They invited the young right-hander to his first pro Spring Training earlier this year. He didn’t disappoint. Ending his first Spring Training with 16 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched and held hitters to a .222 average. The Astros would then reassign him to AAA Round Rock.
While his stay was short in Round Rock, he dominated there posting a sparkling 1.48 ERA over 24 innings pitched.
With all that has been said about his success, there has been one major knock on his game. His control. He is known to lose his release point at times, and the further he goes in a game the more he’s prone to walks or balls hung up in the zone.
His repertoire features a solid fastball that sits in the 94-96 range. An over-powering curveball, that will most definitely be featured in tonight’s game. A slider that still needs a bit of work and a change-up that will keep hitters honest.
The potential to be an everyday pitcher is there, and to be frank, he reminds me of Lance McCullers. Having a fastball-change to start off with, then a dominating curve that finishes off the hitter.
The dream is becoming a reality. The boy who grew up watching the Killer B’s just down Highway 290, is now toeing the rubber and looking to further his success with a win. With the notion that McHugh is being moved to the pen, the brass ring is there to grab as well. There is a 5th spot open in the rotation and its Martins to be had.
This writer hopes he does. What a beautiful storyline to follow and what a story to tell.