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Could Pedro Martinez Prove Fantasy Usable?

Eric StashinSenior Writer IJuly 16, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - July 15: The Philadelphia Phillies Pedro Martinez holds up his jersey after joining the team on July 15, 2009 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

With Pedro Martinez officially signing with the Phillies, there’s a big question mark as to if he will be worth using in fantasy formats. Let’s delve into the numbers and see.

First of all, don’t expect him in the Phillies rotation until late July/early August, as he was immediately put on the DL and will be given time in the minor leagues to prepare for his return to the majors. 

Therefore, if you are looking for an immediate boost to your rotation, he’s certainly not the answer.

For those who are willing to wait another two to three weeks, let’s take a look at things. 

Last season he called Shea Stadium home, certainly a park that is more favorable to pitchers, yet allowed 19 home runs in just 15 starts (HR/9 of 1.57). If you dig into this a little deeper, things are a bit more disturbing.

Of those 19 home runs, only five came at home in 45 innings. Of the remaining 15, four of those, just one fewer than he allowed at his home ballpark, came at Citizens Bank Park in just 10.1 innings!

He didn’t pitch in the ballpark in 2007, but in 2006 he did pitch eight innings without allowing a home run. Of course, he still allowed nine earned runs (10.13 ERA), so it's not like he fared well. 

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Obviously, the opponent does play a factor, and the Phillies have one of the more potent lineups around. Still, it’s hard to argue that he has had any type of success in the ballpark in the past.

Just to go back to the home runs for a second, it’s amazing that they came courtesy of a fly ball rate of just 35.3 percent. Consider his rates from the previous four seasons (2007 was just 28 innings):

  • 2004: 42.8 percent
  • 2005: 44.6 percent
  • 2006: 44.3 percent
  • 2007: 44.2 percent

If he’s going to regress to those numbers—and it is hard to imagine him not—the balls are simply going to continue flying out of the ballpark, especially in Philadelphia, where a pop-up can manage to carry out. That’s certainly not a positive thing to think about.

Martinez is coming off a career-worst K/9 (7.18), and last I heard his fastball was sitting right around 85 mph. 

Last season, he averaged 87.7 mph on his fastball, and he had already been forced to transform himself from the power pitcher he once was into more of a finesse artist.

He’s a true competitor, and I wouldn’t count him out, but nothing is pointing to too much success in my eyes. 

Granted, with a high-powered offense helping him out, it’s very possible that he picks up a fair share of wins. The real question is, can he possibly help you anywhere else?

Consider:

  • He’s pitching in a ballpark where he has had little to no success.
  • His strikeouts could continue to fall.
  • His home runs could be similar to last season, making a useful ERA impossible.

Put those three things together, and it just adds up to a pitcher that you should avoid in all formats. 

There’s the chance that he strings together a solid start or two in a row. He’s going to do everything he can to be successful and prove the other clubs who bypassed him that they made a mistake. 

Unfortunately, I just don’t see how he could put things together for two months and prove useful.

What about you? Is Martinez a pitcher you think is worth owning? If so, how good do you think he’ll be?

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