— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 11, 2016
In this edition of ESNY’s New York Yankees Prospect Profile, we take a look at right-handed pitcher Nolan Martinez.
Martinez was the definition of lights out in his senior year, which led the Yankees to heavily scout him. He pitched to an 8-2 record with a 0.49 ERA, striking out 81 batters in 56 2/3 innings. He committed to San Diego State University, but decided to sign with the Yankees instead.
“I want to go play; I want to sign,” Martinez said when asked by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com prior to making his decision. “That’s what I want to do. We’re going to talk it over as a family and come to a family decision.”
The 18-year old has a fastball that usually sits around 89-92 m.p.h. and can reach 95.
This same fastball had the highest recorded spin rate, of 2685 rpm, at the World Wood Bat Association World Championship in 2015, which is significant because it makes the pitch much tougher to hit.
Take a look at what scouts have to say about the rest of his skills:
Scouting grades via MLB Pipeline: Fastball: 60 / Curveball: 55 / Changeup: 50 / Control: 55 / Overall: 45
As seen by the grades, scouts have given Martinez above average ratings for his fastball, curveball, and his control. His curveball usually sits in the mid-upper 70’s with a lot of break on it compared to the average curve.
The righty’s changeup still has some work to be done on it since he did not use it that much in high school.
Martinez was one of the youngest players to be drafted in the 2016 draft, being just 17 years old on draft day and not turning 18 until three weeks after.
The right-hander only played in three games with the organization in 2016 due to age restrictions, but in those few games, he did not disappoint at all.
In just seven innings pitched spread out through three starts, Martinez sported a 3.86 ERA with just three strikeouts and surrendering four walks with the Gulf Coast League Yankees.
Martinez currently stands at 6-foot-2 and weighs just 165 pounds, a frame that he will be able to build onto as he gets older which can help improve his velocity. He tries to mimic his style after big league stars like Greg Maddux, Clayton Kershaw, and Trevor Bauer.
“I’m just trying to take bits and pieces off of everyone [Kershaw, Maddux, Bauer], try them out and see what they do,” Martinez told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
The right-hander is expected to play a full season for the 2017 campaign and hopefully prove to the organization why they made the right decision in selecting him in the third round of last year’s draft.
It will be a while though until Yankees fans see the right-hander since MLB Pipeline suggests that he will not debut in the Bronx until 2020, but hopefully, if he develops appropriately it will well be worth the wait.