Prospect Profile: Cristhian Martinez

Mention the name Cristhian Martinez just one year ago, and even the most devout minor league followers of the Tigers' farm system wouldn't recognize the name. After 2004 though, that all changed as Martinez had strong showings at two levels, and debunked an age rumor, proving him well worthy of the level he was playing at.

Cristhian Martinez
Position: Right Handed Pitcher Height: 6-1 Weight: 160
Born: 3/6/1982 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
After being signed by the Tigers as a non-drafted free agent in the spring of 2003, Martinez reported to the Dominican Summer League (DSL) for his first exposure to professional baseball. Four starts and 21 innings later, and Martinez was on his way to the United States to test his abilities in the Gulf Coast League (GCL). In the DSL, Cristhian was dominating, striking out 24 and posting a miniscule 0.83 ERA. In the GCL, Martinez did not fair nearly as well, posting a 5.86 ERA over 35+ innings. After his struggles in the GCL, the Tigers only promoted him one level, to Oneonta in 2004, where he was again dominating in his only two starts. Martinez was quickly promoted to West Michigan where he continued his outstanding run. Cristhian was an integral part of the Whitecaps championship drive in 2004, tossing 74 innings of great baseball, with a 2.44 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.

Scouting Report
Cristhian's most significant trait is definitely his poise and maturity on the mound, something young pitchers often struggle with early in their careers. Martinez has displayed exceptional calm on the mound, enabling him to be at his best under the toughest of circumstances. Martinez uses the natural sink on his average fastball to consistently induce groundballs. He combines his fastball with solid; if unspectacular, off-speed pitches that he sets up well and commands with high precision. Cristhian is a "thinking-man's" pitcher in the mold of Greg Maddux, as he understands how to mix his pitches and is a true pitcher on the mound. Martinez will be tested against more advanced hitters once he reaches Double-A, but should still remain successful due to his exceptional command. At only 160 pounds, Martinez still has room to add muscle, potentially leading to more velocity and increased effectiveness.

Performance

Year

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

WHIP

2004

Oneonta

1-0

2.08

2

2

0

12

1

13.0

0.77

2004

West Michigan

5-2

2.44

12

12

0

45

20

73.2

1.07


Health Record
Martinez has experienced no significant injuries.

The Future
After a dominating 2004 season, Martinez will likely start the season with High-A Lakeland of the Florida State League. If he starts out as he finished last season, Martinez could see Erie as early as mid-summer. Cristhian has flown under prospect radars so far, as reports of his age were greatly exaggerated early last season. At only 22 years old, Martinez should certainly be considered a prospect worth watching. Look for Martinez to post some good numbers pitching for Lakeland, in a very pitcher-friendly environment. Most people have likely not heard much of Martinez at this point, but if he can maintain his success as he moves up the ladder, you could hear his name mentioned along with some of the other top pitching prospects in the organization.


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