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Oops! All Astros: Seth Martinez

Seth Martinez is probably the best “last guy in the bullpen” in baseball.

We’re reviewing every player to appear in Houston's system through the 2022 season.

Seth Martinez is a six-foot-two, 200 lb. right-handed pitcher from Peoria, AZ. Born on August 29, 1994, he was a 17th-round pick in 2016 by the Oakland Athletics out of Arizona State University. Martinez is one of four players to make the majors after getting drafted 502nd overall. Brian Lawrence (7.9 WAR) leads the group. Since 1965, the Sun Devils have seen 396 of their players drafted, and 104 to eventually reach the majors. That group is led by Barry Bonds (162.8 WAR).

Martinez signed with the A’s to a deal that included a $70,000 bonus and spent his first four professional seasons at some level of Oakland’s minor league complex. On December 10, 2020, he was a rule 5 pick by the Astros, in the minor league portion of the event.

As a minor league selectee, the Astros weren’t required to keep Martinez on the major league roster for any length of time. His time with the Triple-A Sugar Land Skeeters in 2021 would see him post a 0.954 WHIP over 57 23 innings, with 78 K’s for a 12.2 K/9. When his three-game major league stats are added in, he held his opponents to a .184/.268/.321 slashline.

The 2022 campaign would see Martinez open the season back with Sugar Land, newly re-monikered the Space Cowboys, but he played more than two-thirds of his games at the major league level. On May 12, he struck out three batters in 1 23 scoreless innings for the Astros in a 5-0 win against the Minnesota Twins. On July 4, he faced the minimum over three scoreless innings, striking out three in a 7-6 triumph over the Kansas City Royals.

Over the course of the season, Martinez put up an opposing batter slashline of .187/.270/.280 in 53 23 innings. At the major league level, he racked up a WHIP of 1.034, which was better even than Houston’s American League-best 1.092. Martinez struck out 38 and allowed only 6.1 H/9.

Martinez was reliant on a five-pitch mix, with his secondary offerings playing off his 92 MPH fastball (34 percent) and his slider (30 percent) — the latter of which carried an elite .187 xwOBA. His sinker (19 percent) was worth minus-4 runs on only 114 offerings, and his changeup (13 percent) outperformed the expected figures by over 100 points (.150 BA vs. .263 xBA, .150 SLG vs. 331 xSLG). His repertoire was rounded out by an 86 MPH cut fastball (four percent).

FanGraphs projects Martinez to get 54 major league innings in 2023, along with regression to a 4.15 ERA (he landed at 2.09 in 2022). Martinez is highly likely to break camp with the parent club. Although no longer a rookie, he still has two options remaining if the Astros need to use it for some reason.

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