Braves 2021 Player Review: Chris Martin

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When acquired back in 2019, Chris Martin was my favorite pitcher to watch. While his ERA was a not-so-great 4.05, his K/BB rate was an incredible 22/1 ratio. Yes, for every walk he induced, he struck out 22 batters. More than just the ability to get outs without ever allowing walks, Martin, standing at 6’8 was less force, more finesse, and I just thought the whole package was glorious to watch.

It was in this faith that the Braves decided to re-up Martin on a 2 year $14MM deal for 2020 and 2021. There was definitely more to his 2019 than his ERA and 2020 proved it as he carried a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings while only allowing 1.5 BB/9 and striking out 10 per 9. His WHIP? 0.61.

When 2021 rolled around, we fans expected more of the same. After returning from shoulder inflammation that left him sidelined for almost all of April and the first 1/3 of May, we got it…kind of. He was getting people out and wasn’t walking people, but the strikeout stuff just wasn’t there. Both the slider and the splitter suffered, greatly reducing his deception. Unfortunately, the end of June brought big changes for Martin…no more sticky. His spin rate took one of the biggest hits on the team, but Martin still managed to get people out, but the big K numbers were gone.

Snitker seemingly saw the writing on the wall and left Martin off of the NLDS Roster. He was included on both the NLDS and World Series roster where he pitched a total of 4.1 innings with a 2.08 ERA.

Remove the name, and make Chris Martin a minor leaguer making a 2021 debut, and as a fan, you’d take a 3.95 ERA in 43.1 innings. However, after the season he had in 2020 and the ridiculous K/BB rate in 2019, one can’t help but think 2021 was a disappointment.

I think the Braves probably let Martin walk, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he sticks on the free agent market long enough to where he’ll take a low ball offer to come back to familiarity, similar to Shane Greene.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

11 thoughts on “Braves 2021 Player Review: Chris Martin”

  1. I hope Martin is taking the time to find a way to rebuild his spin rates. Short of a Spencer Strider breakout, the Braves could use another high leverage RH reliever to go with Luke (or until Yates is fully recovered). With a fully restored Martin, the Braves would have a core of Matzek, Minter, Martin, L. Jackson, Smith. With a couple of low leverage guys (from among Lee, Newk, J. Jackson, Webb et al) and middle relief from Touki and Ynoa, our bullpen will be really good.

    Certainly whatever money the Braves spend needs to be focused on Freddie and OF help.

    I think the international signings go a long way to address depth of IF prospects. That may be the most important impact. I have a firm belief that at least one of Pache, Waters, and Harris will turn into a starter or even a star. Our biggest need is a bridge to our coming OF talent. Or a trade for an existing long term OF talent (e.g. Reynolds).

  2. If it were possible to rebuild spin rates, everyone would do it. I’m afraid it’s one of those things that is what it is.

  3. @2
    Actually, spin rate is something that Driveline is working hard to increase, and there are a lot of success stories out there. The biggest question remains if their program relied on the sticky to get added RPMs. I’m sure we will know that answer when real baseball starts again.

    Gosh…since taking over the blog, I’ve been through a LOOOOONG offseason, a shortened 60-game MLB season with no MILB games, and a lockout where every baseball writer has writer’s block because there’s literally 0 to talk about.

    Am I DOOOOOOOOOOOMED?

  4. Thanks, Ryan. I share your enthusiasm for the 2019-20 version of Gwyneth’s ex. Anyone with a K/BB ratio like that is a delight to watch. I have no idea whether post-sticky crackdown Martin can recover his earlier form, but I’m pulling for him.

    And thanks again for all you do for the blog. Baseball’s business is a mess, but this blog and your leadership are what keep me interested through times such as these.

  5. Thank you, tfloyd. And thank you to all that have expressed their thanks over the last few months. I’ve long known it but this is the best social media atmosphere in existence.

  6. Greetings from Las Vegas…

    Yes, Ryan… big thnx go to you for keeping this bar open. Much appreciated…

    Went to a Golden Knights hockey game last night. Quite the production & souped-up atmosphere. Marching bands, cheerleaders, dancers, costumed actors, DJs, on-ice sound-&-light tricks and… yeah, a pretty good hockey game, in the end. Very clubby, very Vegas.

    Lotsa outdoor fun around the arena before & after the game. Of course, the weather here is great for that. Can’t really do outdoor wings & beers in mid-January in Newark or midtown Manhattan. A rather different hockey experience, but damn if it wasn’t entertaining.

  7. So Chris Martin goes to Drive Line they promise “Fix You” and he’ll be “Viva La Vida” in “My Universe”

  8. Ryan, don’t forget that six game stretch in late October 2021 happened on your watch as well.

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