BSB: Getting to Know Buckley and Martinez
BERKELEY -- This season, the California baseball team will have significantly more bullets in the bullpen that last year, bringing in a pitching class of Trevin Haseltine, Lucas Erceg (two-way player), Daulton Jefferies, Alex Schick, Alex Martinez and Andrew Buckley.
While Haseltine's mechanics still need a bit of rebuilding before they're ready to roll -- and when they are, he's a high-90s type of arm -- and Erceg will be doing double duty, with Jefferies and Schick tapped for the weekend rotation, that leaves Martinez and Buckley helping to fill out a bullpen that got plenty of experience in 2013.
Buckley -- a 6-foot-1, 220-pound righty out of Concord (Calif.) De La Salle -- was a three-way starter for the Spartans on the football field in 2012 (as a defensive back, receiver and punter), and is a very physical, tough pitcher with a nasty streak.
He's got plus athleticism, and though he's not a power pitcher, he can be an innings-eater in the middle of games. As a junior, he turned in a 10-strikeout, complete-game performance in the 2012 NCS title game for De La Salle.
He's got the potential to turn into a power arm at the back end of the bullpen, with an 87-90 fastball, complimented by a slider and a change-up.
Martinez -- a 5-foot-11, 190-pounder out of Union City (Calif.) James Logan -- throws a four-seam fastball between 86-91 with an outstanding curveball, but the slider is the main attraction. It can be a wipe-out slider at times, but it's not quite as consistent as the coaches would like it, at this point. When it's on, it's very tough to hit, but when it's off, it's very difficult to throw it for strikes. That's going to be the key for Martinez -- if he can throw that slider for strikes, and bury it in the dirt on two-strike counts, he's going to be very, very effective, particularly with a catcher like Mitchell Kranson behind the plate to give him the confidence to go into the dirt.
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