What’s up party people. Anybody got some more of those sleepers? Why, yes I do RIV. Your boy is back, and bringing the analysis with me. This is a preseason mini-series I’m calling “Navigating the Grey AreaTM“. Here, I’ll be looking at some potential sleeper-like players that missed the Grey cut but are certainly worth exploration. Completely unintentional, and not-at-all planned, I begin with Carlos Martinez. Grey had this to say in his Top 60 Starters for 2020 Fantasy Baseball, “He has a 3.48 FIP in 864 2/3 IP in his career with a near 9 K/9. If he’s healthy, is there any doubt that he will be good? I know, I know, I KNOW! That if has its own zip code… Honestly, if I drafted him here and got 30+ saves instead of 120 IP, 3.50 ERA innings, I’d be okay with that too. In fact (Grey’s got more!), when I rank him in the top 500, it’ll be around 180ish (give or take 20 spots) and if they announce he’s going to close, I wouldn’t move his overall ranking…” I too share the same optimism for CMart, either way he’s deployed should produce tasty numbers for the cost. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
The last time CMart had a bad year (and by bad I mean produced bad stats when on the mound) was his cup of coffee in 2013 in 21 innings. WUT. That’s right. As a full time MLBer, he has always been legit. Let’s review his seasons as a starter:
So ignoring the name and just looking at the numbers… What type of pitcher is that? A fantasy #3, #2? Rhetorical! Right now Grey has Kershaw penciled in for 3.42/1.05/162 in 164 IP. And he has back problems. CMart might not get to as many innings but is capable of returning very similar numbers with a bit more WHIP at 1/3 the draft cost! The word for that is value; the E is silent. I think its French.
In 4 full seasons as a starter, Martinez logged 675 innings with a 3.22/3.58 ERA/FIP and 1.26 WHIP. That comes with an 8.91 K/9 and 3.40 BB/9, punctuated by a 0.77 HR/9 – Ooo la la! In an age of HRs, Martinez is able to suppress opponent HRs. He’s getting them just enough off-balance to keep the ball in the yard and maintain a pristine ERA. Listen, Coolwhip, you are very cool and all; but, what makes you think we will see a return to form and not prolonged shoulder issues? I’m glad you asked RIV. This offseason CMart had a procedure to alleviate the cause of shoulder pain. All reports are saying it was a success and that he’s on pace for full participation to stretch out in Spring Training; therein, he will have ample time to build up durability.
Now let’s look under the hood a bit and see what might give us hope for this year:
Bazinga! In 2018 we saw a very noticeable dip in velocity before being shut down for a while then came back late out of the bullpen. In his return to the field in 2019 his velocity returned to form and so did his performance. CMart posted a 3.17/2.86 ERA/FIP to go with 9.87 K/9, 3.35 BB/9, and 0.37 HR/9 to great success. Even discounting those bullpen numbers a tad, that puts him right back in line with his career averages. With the velocity back on his fastball, his changeup was the best it had ever been, logging a career-best .111 BAA. And his slider had a .101 BAA, also a career-best. That gives him 2 Out pitches; the slider breaking out and away on righties, and the changeup for lefties. Grey is projecting him at a 3.51/1.25/134 in 127 innings. That would give him a 9.5/9 which sounds about right in today’s game of swing an miss, though the 3.51 is a bit conservative as there is room for more (as has been his norm). He could certainly rebound to his career average closer to 3.30 or better if he keeps that HR/9 under 1, which is also within his career average.
What does this mean? Give CMart a look to fill the back end of your rotation. There are not many options that late in the draft who have the upside of giving you #2 stats at a #4/5 price, with the fallback plan in place that could give you SAGNOF compensation. Its a win-win-win. What’s the 3rd win you say? IT DOESN’T MATTER (its SAGNOF). So as you pass that pick 150 mark on the draft highway, keep your eyes on the lookout for the CMart exit in the desert (that little rest stop between OF3 and Middle Infielder) it just might be the best place go for a P and avoid having to take a Leake. That’s a cherry on top!