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2017 VEB Community Projections: Carlos Martinez

Will the Cardinals ace take another step forward?

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

In 2015, Carlos Martinez had a very good season, but couldn’t finish it healthy as he was shut down after 179.2 innings due to concerns about his shoulder. Last year, Martinez stayed healthy all season long, putting up another good season even if his strikeouts took a slight step back. This year, coming off a $51 million contract extension, Martinez can have another fine season and meet expectations, but there is still hope that the 25-year-old can put everything together and put together a Cy Young-type season.

In 2015, Martinez struck out 24.4% batters, but in 2016, that number went down to 21.5% on the year. There is some evidence to suggest that Martinez sacrificed some strikeouts for weaker contact. While his walks stayed the same, Martinez got even more ground balls (56%) than he had the previous year and his BABIP went down to .286. Looking at BABIP can be tricky, as defense plays a large role and a lot of it is random, but the Cardinals did have a bad defense and Martinez was still able to have a low percentage of balls in play turn into hits.

He also had a nearly identical home run rate both seasons despite a big surge in offense last year. Put it all together, and dropping from a 3.21 FIP to a 3.61 FIP seems not great, but once you account for change in offense and the extra innings he pitched, his value was roughly the same at just over three wins above replacement.

Last year, VEB was very high on El Gallo. You can find this year’s ZiPS here, Steamer here, and Baseball Prospectus ($) projections on their player pages.

How do you think he will do?

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