Friday was a day for me to see two pitchers I have seen flash really well in the past and offered me a chance to reset my opinion on both of them, and some feeling have changed.
Let’s start with Brett Martin of the Texas Rangers. The 6’4” very lanky 190 lbs. lefty who was drafted out of a Tennessee JC (along with staff-mate at the time Brent Honeywell) and started out as the number two starter for the 2014 AZL club.
His high 3/4 arm slot left little run on his fastball this day, something that I have seen plenty of in previous outings. He worked between 89-92 and it was very flat. His curve was impressive, coming in repetitively at 80 MPH with a 2-8 break and a big bump in the middle of it. His change sat between 80-82 and showed some late life, but not as much as I have seen in the past.
On the day, Martin did not look like the future number four or five I have seen him flash in the past. It was an intra-squad game in the middle of spring, so the adrenaline wasn’t flowing quite like a live game, but I am not used to seeing him dip below 90 on the gun and has regularly sat 93 with life. I have also seen games where the change dips at the end with the same arm slot as the fastball. On those days, he is a good number four starter potential, on days like Friday, he is a AAA arm. In the end I see him as a fringe-rotation guy but enough stuff to stick.
Another guy I got to see was Royals lefty Sam Selman. Selman was a second round pick out of Vanderbilt back in 2012 who is heading into his age 27 season. I first saw him as he transitioned from starter to reliever, and he still has a starter’s repertoire, but without the elite reliever stuff. His bent arm 3/4 delivery leaves his arm in a touch to read slot, that allows his fastball to play up. It was coming in between 90-92 with late run back arm side after heavy cross body plane despite a relatively level release point. He mixed in his change at 80-81 where his arm slows just a touch making his early changeups easier to read, but the arm caught up later in the inning. He showed two versions of a breaking ball, one at 79-80 that had a flat plane but darted in at righties late. He also threw one at 87 that had the depth of a full slider and was by far his best pitch of the day, but I only saw it once.
Selman has outgrown real prospect status that he once held, and is really just a 6th or 7th inning guy at best, but he has the chances to be one who does get a taste of big league action this year while likely ending up as one of those relievers that wears out his options and finds himself on the waiver wire many times in his career as he will bounce between AAA and the last man in a bullpen for a number of years.