Christopher Riley Martin
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 8", Weight 215 lb.
- School McLennan Community College
- High School Arlington (TX) High School
- Debut April 26, 2014
Chris Martin made his major league debut in 2014.
Martin was picked by the Detroit Tigers in the 18th round of the 2004 amateur draft out of high school. He went on to junior college; the Colorado Rockies chose him in the 21st round of the 2005 amateur draft but Martin did not sign again. He injured his shoulder after that, seemingly ending his hopes of a pro baseball career. He worked at Lowe's, UPS and almost three years shelving things at Texas Appliance, where his height helped him reach the top shelves. He began playing in a local men's league as his shoulder began healing.
He tried out for the Grand Prairie AirHogs in 2010, five years after the Rockies drafted him; throwing in the low 90s, he impressed skipper Pete Incaviglia enough to sign him. He was 4-0 with a 1.96 ERA in 13 games for the AirHogs, with 36 K to 9 BB in 36 2/3 IP. That in turn drew the interest of the Boston Red Sox, who offered him a shot in the minors. He did very well in 2011, with the Greenville Drive (4-0, 2.17 ERA, .76 WHIP in 7 G), Salem Red Sox (2-1, 4 Sv, 0.92 ERA, .89 WHIP in 13 G) and Portland Sea Dogs (0-1, 15.88 in 3 G), for a 2.55 ERA and .95 WHIP despite his struggles with Portland.
Martin spent 2012 with Portland, going 3-6 with a 4.48 ERA and 18 walks in 76 1/3 IP. He was 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 7 games for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League. In 2013, the right-hander was with Portland (2-0, 3 Sv, 9 H, 0 R in 21 IP) and the Pawtucket Red Sox (3-3, 2 Sv, 3.18 ERA in 30 G). He had a 1.06 WHIP for the year. He pitched eight games for the Leones del Escogido that winter, allowing three hits, one unearned run and no walks in eight innings; he fanned eight. He registered six saves, tying teammate Armando Rodriguez for fifth in the Dominican Winter League in that department.
The Red Sox dealt him to the Rockies that off-season for Jonathan Herrera. He opened 2014 poorly for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (0-1, 3 Sv, 8.22, though with 11 K in 7 2/3 IP) but was still called up when Chad Bettis was demoted. In his major league debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 26th, he relieved Tommy Kahnle in the bottom of the 7th with a 5-2 deficit. Adrian Gonzalez singled, then Matt Kemp lined into a force. Andre Ethier drew a four-pitch walk but Justin Turner grounded into a double play. Josh Rutledge batted for Martin to open the 8th. He pitched 16 times for Colorado, with no record and a 6.89 ERA in 15 2/3 innings. With Colorado Springs, he was 1-3, 4.39 in 25 games picking up 5 saves, but pitching only 26 2/3 innings. On January 5, 2015, the Rockies had him designated for assignment, then on January 13th, they sold his contract to the New York Yankees.
Martin split the 2015 season between the Yankees (0-2, Sv, 5.66 in 24 G) and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (0-1, 2 Sv, 3.18 in 20 G). He was signed by the Nippon Ham Fighters for 2016 and had an excellent start (1-0, 13 Sv, 1.47 in 39 G, 41 K, 19 H, 5 BB in 36 2/3 IP). That earned him a spot on the Pacific League All-Star team for the 2016 NPB All-Star Game. In Game 1, he relieved Takahiro Norimoto with a 3-1 deficit in the top of the 7th. He allowed a double to Yoshitomo Tsutsugo but then retired Takahiro Arai, Wladimir Balentien and Shun Takayama in order. Shohei Tsukahara relieved him in the 8th. He finished the year with a record of 2-0, 1.07 and 21 saves. In 2017, he pitched 40 times for Nippon Ham, going 0-2, 1.19 with 1 save.
Following his two solid seasons in Japan, Martin returned to the United States in 2018 after signing a two-year contract worth $4 million with the Texas Rangers on December 15, 2017. He was joining his hometown team, having grown up in Arlington, TX. It was the second signing of a prominent gaijin player by the Rangers in a couple of weeks, after inking fellow pitcher Miles Mikolas earlier in the off-season. He pitched 46 times for the Rangers in 2018, all in relief, and went 1-5, 4.54. He was a lot better in 2019 as he went 0-2, 3.08 in 38 games, also recording 4 saves. He had a tremendous K/W ratio of 43/4 in 38 innings. On July 30th, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves in return for prospect Kolby Allard. On September 11th, he pitched an immaculate inning against the Cincinnati Reds.
- 2014 Rockies Media Guide
- Denver Post article