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Carlos Martinez (martica04)

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Carlos Ernesto Martinez
known as Carlos Matias prior to 2011

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 185 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Carlos Martinez is a top pitching prospect who made his debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013. He was previously known as Carlos Matias. He was originally signed by the Boston Red Sox under that name in 2009, but the contract was voided by Major League Baseball before he could play for the Red Sox, because of concerns over his true identity and birth documents. He was suspended for a year and when the delay ended, signed with the Cardinals in April of 2010. The source of the problem was that he was born in a rural area of Puerto Plata province in the Dominican Republic, where record-keeping is poor; his mother died when he was young and he was brought up by an uncle whose last name was Matias, hence the confusion. His place of birth, Colinas del Sur, simply refers to a district in his native province.

Carlos made his professional debut at age 18, pitching for the DSL Cardinals in 2010. He went 3-2 in 12 starts, dominating opponents with an 0.76 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 59 innings. He led the Dominican Summer League in ERA (.10 ahead of runner-up Henry Perez), lowest opponent average (.144), WHIP (.71, tied with Jayson Aquino) and strikeouts per 9 innings. Baseball America listed him as the Cards' #3 prospect. That earned him a ticket to the United States, and he started the 2011 season in full-season A ball, playing for the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Midwest League; this was already a huge leap for a young pitcher from the Dominican Republic, as the Rookie-level Appalachian League would have been a more common next destination. Carlos did extremely well against Midwest League batters though, putting up a 2.33 ERA over his first 8 starts, with 50 strikeouts over 38 2/3 innings, to earn a promotion to the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League. He vaulted so far up the prospect rankings that he was selected as one of two Cardinal minor leaguers to play in the 2011 Futures Game. He pitched the 4th inning for the World team. He struck out Paul Goldschmidt to open the inning, hit Devin Mesoraco with a pitch, and then induced Will Middlebrooks to hit into a double play grounder to end the frame. He hit 98 mph on the radar gun during the outing, showing the sort of stuff that makes scouts salivate. He was working on developing a change-up to complement his outstanding fastball. Martinez did not pitch as well after the Futures Game, finishing at 3-3, 5.78 for Palm Beach, for a combined pitching line of 6-5, 3.93 in 18 starts. Baseball America rated him as having the top fastball in both the FSL and MWL. They listed him as the 6th-best prospect in the FSL, after Shelby Miller, Matt Harvey, Hak-ju Lee, Trevor May and Alex Colome, as well as the 27th-best prospect in baseball, second to Miller in the Cards chain.

In 2012, Martinez was back at Palm Beach to start the year, and put up an ERA of 3.00 with a 2-2 record in 7 starts. He was then promoted to the Springfield Cardinals of the Texas League, where he was 4-3, 2.90 in 15 games. Overall, he pitched 22 games, with a record of 6-5, 2.93, to confirm his status as a top prospect. After the season, Baseball America listed him at #38 on its top 100 prospects list and third among Cardinals minor leaguers after Oscar Taveras and Miller. They ranked his fastball as the best in the FSL and put him down as the circuit's 6th-best prospect, behind position players Jurickson Profar, Taveras, Wil Myers, Mike Olt and Jonathan Singleton.

He was back at Springfield to begin the 2013 season and picked up a win in his first three starts, during which his ERA was 2.31 and he had a 9/1 K/W ratio in 11 2/3 innings. He had missed all of spring training because of trouble in obtaining a visa, which explains why he had pitched so little when called up to St. Louis on May 3rd to replace the struggling Mitchell Boggs. Although he had been a starter throughout his minor league career, the Cardinals were looking to him as a reliever and it is in that role that he made his debut on the day of his call-up, pitching a scoreless 7th inning in relief of another top prospect, Miller, with the Cardinals holding a 6-1 lead over the Milwaukee Brewers. He allowed a single to the first batter he faced, Yuniesky Betancourt, but the induced pinch-hitter Logan Schafer to hit into a double play and Norichika Aoki to ground out to end the inning before being replaced by pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton.

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