Earlier today we touched on what the Astros can expect from Blake Taylor in his rebound from injury. In continuing our look at the Astros' bullpen, we'll now analyze what Houston can expect from Seth Martinez headed into next season.
Martinez had his first stint of extended action in The Show in 2022 after throwing three innings in 2021. Across 38.2 innings in 29 appearances, Martinez held opposing lineups to a .187 batting average against and a .532 OPS. His 1.03 WHIP and 2.09 ERA especially leap off the page.
Martinez' Statcast numbers were equally solid, holding opponents to a .176 xBA and posting a 2.76 xERA. But perhaps most impressive was the ability to provide length that Martinez brought the Astros. Of his 29 appearances, he went three full innings twice, two plus innings five times, and over one inning of work 13 times. He played a key role in preserving the bullpen.
By all means, Martinez had a very successful season. But he undeservedly fell victim to the depth of the Astros' bullpen, and was both optioned back to AAA for a stint and left off of both the ALDS and World Series roster.
So what can we expect from Martinez for next season?
It is likely Martinez did enough to justify a stay with the big league club for 2023. His ability to go well beyond an inning of work is far too valuable to stay in AAA.
Last season he fell victim to having options available when other relievers did not, but with Will Smith gone, hopefully Martinez can keep his spot all year.
Perhaps the most eye-popping of his numbers are his splits against righties. Too be fair, lefties did get to Seth a bit in 2022 (.777 OPS), but he limited right-handers to a .134 batting average against and .394 OPS with a 48 OPS+. Needless to say, righties were helpless with Martinez on the bump.
We may see Martinez get a chance to show his stuff in higher leverage spots next year. According to Baseball Reference, he faced only ten batters in a high leverage situation in 2022. Of the 155 batters he faced, 121 were considered low leverage. He'd likely need to display more ability to get lefties out before he can be trusted consistently in the highest of leverage spots.
Even if Seth doesn't become a leverage arm on this roster, they have plenty of those with Pressly, Montero, Stanek, Abreu and Neris. An arm like Seth is quite a luxury to have.
If he improves against lefties and shows he can consistently get them out, he becomes one of Houston's greatest weapons. Look for big things from Seth Martinez in 2022.