Name: Ethan Martin
DOB: June 6, 1989
Height: 6′ 2″
Acquired: Drafted by the Los Angelos Dodgers in the 1st round (#15 overall) in the 2008 draft ($1.73 million bonus). Acquired by the Phillies along with Josh Lindblom and Stefan Jarrin in exchange for Shane Victorino.
Pre Draft Report: Martin was the top prep right handed pitcher in the 2008 draft. He was rated Baseball America’s 2008 High School Player of the Year not just for his pitching but also for his hitting at third base. On the mound Martin had a plus fastball that sat mid 90s that could touch high 90. He had a plus breaking ball that was more slurvy than true curveball and his change up was advanced for his age. The Dodgers made him the 15th overall pick of the draft.
Despite not playing in a game after being drafted in 2008, Martin made his debut at #3 on Baseball America’s Dodger’s list and at #1 on Kevin Goldstein’s Dodger list for Baseball Prospectus. There were notes that Martin tended to overthrow his pitches which could cost him some command and control.
Martin made his debut in low-A Great Lakes in the Midwest League. His season was a solid success though his BB/9 was very high, his final line was 100IP, 3.87 ERA, 61BB, 120K. It was noted that his velocity was inconsistent and his change up was below average. He still earned #10 on BA’s Midwest Leage Top 20. After the season BA ranked him #4 in the Dodger’s system and Kevin Goldstein rated him #3.
In 2010 Martin was sent to Inland Empire in the California League. the year can only be described as a complete disaster as his ERA was 6.35 but more concerning was that over 113.1IP he posted at 8.34 K/9 but a 6.43 BB/9. He still was rated the #15 prospect in the California league and BA noted that he had no feel for his curveball and could not throw it for strikes. At the end of the season BA rated him the #9 prospect in the Dodger system and Kevin Goldstein rated in the #10 prospect, both with the caveat that he still maintained a #2 upside if ever solved his command problems.
In 2011 the Dodgers sent Martin back to the California League (their affiliate shifted to Rancho Cucamonga) where again it was a huge disaster as he posted a 7.36 ERA eventually being shifted to the bullpen. Trying to restart his career the Dodgers promoted him to AA Chattanooga where his ERA dropped but not his command issues. BA rated him #17 in the Dodger’s system noting that he still had #2 upside but was far from reaching it and that he was struggling to repeat his delivery, Goldstein rated him the #14 prospect in the system.
Martin returned to AA as a starter in 2012 and pitched much better dropping his walk rate by 2BB/9. On July 31 he was traded to the Phillies in a package for Shane Victorino, his AA numbers at the time were 118IP, 3.58 ERA, 61BB, 112K. Martin continued his success in Reading with a line of 39.2IP, 3.18ERA, 18BB, 35K, and of those 18 walks 7 occurred in a single start.
Scouting Report: Below is an assessment of Martin’s raw tools, rated on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale. The grades are my estimation based on what I’ve read and those I’ve talked to. The second number is a future projection, the first number is the current assessment
Arm Strength: 65
Secondary Pitches: Slider 50/60, Change up 40/50
Summary: Martin has struggled with control in his time in the minors and that is the main struggle for him. Martin’s stuff remains good with his fastball sitting 92-95 and he can touch 98 when needed. In 2010 Martin scrapped his curveball for a slider that sits in the mid-80s and sits average right now but shows at least plus potential down the road. His change up is slightly below average but has flashed average. Martin is extremely athletic and has been very durable despite his control problems. For Martin his potential will hinge on his command and control.
Upside: Martin’s upside is as a #2 starter though he still a ways away. His stuff is very good with his fastball as plus to plus plus especially if he learns to control it in the strike zone. His problem has been an inability to throw strikes with his secondary pitches leading him to overthrow his fastball. He made great strides in 2012 and will likely head to AAA in 2013 and will have to be added to the 40 man roster in the offseason. His ETA is late 2013 to early 2014. If he is unable to conquer his control issues he will make for a good back of the bullpen reliever.
UPDATE: Martin posted high K/9 and BB/9 rates for Lehigh Valley in 2013, buut was called up to Philadelphia on August 2nd. He made 8 starts and 7 other appearances for the Phillies. He excited crowds with his fastball, but exhibited an inability to maintain velocity and survive a second trip through the line up. He was injured in the off season and started the 2014 season back in the minors. Except for a rehab stint in Clearwater and a short week with the Phillies in June, he spent most of the season in LHV. He started the 2015 season injured again and spent his entire season in Reading, but for a rehab inning in Clearwater. His fastball is diminished, his K rate is down, but so is his BB rate.
Profile updated: 9/21/2015