FIVE YEARS OFF, NOW BIG STRIDES FOR CHRIS MARTIN

FIVE YEARS OFF, NOW BIG STRIDES FOR CHRIS MARTIN

Independent Baseball Insider by Bob Wirz

Vol. 11, No. 39,   December 5, 2013

           Chris Martin does not have to be protected on Boston’s 40-man roster for another season although if his rapid rise continues the 6-foot-7 righty with a mid-90s fastball would not be a complete shock to get a call to Fenway Park before he becomes draft eligible.

           It is somewhat surprising to see the 27-year-old Arkansas native playing at all since he went nearly five years without pitching after shoulder surgery while in college.  Then, he found his health was sufficiently restored and he worked professionally for the first time at Grand Prairie, TX (American Association) in 2010 (4-0, 1.96 in 13 appearances, including four starts).

           He buzz-sawed the Eastern League (Class AA) for 21 innings without allowing a run early this season, then was promoted from Portland, ME to the Red Sox’s top farm club in Pawtucket, RI, where he was 3-3 (two saves) and a 3.18 ERA in 30 relief outings.  That may have only been a warmup for the Dominican Republic this fall where Martin has six saves in eight outings in which he has allowed only two hits, no walks and an unearned run while fanning eight.

           A major league spring training invitation or at least some major league exhibition exposure would seem likely.

Some Other Great Winter League Performances

         It would seem likely Tyler Herron might need some time in Triple-A since the Washington farmhand is only one year removed from a standout season in the American Association (12-3, 3.29 at Fargo, ND) although on the other hand he was a combined 7-3, 2.70 with six saves between Classes A and AA last season and the 27-year-old is leading the Puerto Rican League with eight saves and has a 0.71 ERA after 12 outings.

         John Brownell and Brandon Tripp also are enjoying strong winter league seasons although neither is under contract to a major league organization.  Brownell, who leads the Puerto Rican league with a 1.90 ERA, spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons in the American Association (Grand Prairie, TX).  Tripp, 28, shares second place in RBI (12 in 15 games) and ranks fifth in hitting (.364) in Australia after he drove in 75 runs while hitting .287 with 19 homers for St. Paul, MN (American Association) this summer.

(Bob Wirz also writes about Independent Baseball on www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.  Fans may subscribe to this Independent Baseball Insider column, which will be published 40 times in 2013, at www.WirzandAssociates.com or comment to RWirz@aol.com.  The author has 16 years of major league baseball experience with Kansas City and as spokesman for two Commissioners, and lives in Stratford, CT.)