Coming into 2015, some viewed the season as potentially "career defining" for Carlos Martinez. Not career defining in the sense that he would either be considered "good" or "bad" because at just 23 years of age, everyone knew he still had plenty of years to grow and develop as a pitcher, but rather, would he prove to be a long-term fixture in the Cardinals' starting rotation or would his flashy arm ultimately be reserved for a bullpen role? Well, up to this point—with 18 games left to play in the regular season—2015 has been overwhelmingly positive for El Gallo, capped by an All-Star Game nomination by the fans and assuredly a cemented spot in the rotation for seasons to come.
We are all familiar with the fun Martinez has in the dugout (cup stacking, water splashing, pitcher hit/walk celebrating, etc.). We also know about his filthy repertoire. But, honestly, one of the most exciting components of Martinez's game is his borderline fearless defense (It is almost as if he used to play shortstop or something). Below, you will find GIFs of two incredible plays Martinez has already made in his three year career. Both are abundantly impressive. However, there can only be one winner for "best El Gallo play," so upon watching both one (or one hundred) times, please answer the poll question below.
This play took place in game one of the 2013 National League Division Series (NLDS) against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with fast-for-a-catcher Russell Martin running down the line. To help with voting, you can watch the full video (with multiple angles) here.
This happened in last night's 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, and given the circumstances (two runners on, nobody out, following a bone-headed throw by Yadier Molina), it could be considered a game-defining, must-make play. Again, here is full video of the play for informed voting purposes.
I do not know what goes into Gold Glove Award voting, especially for pitchers. Sure, it is likely just a popularity contest involving well-established veterans, but after a few minutes of thinking, I cannot list even three major league pitchers that could make the plays featured above, let alone as effortlessly as Martinez made them look. For this reason alone, I hope Martinez at least finds his name in the discussion. Even if it is a relatively meaningless individual award. Viva El Gallo.
Cast your vote and explain your reasoning in the comments section.