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Friday, December 20, 2013

Chris Martin: Former Boston Red Sox Prospect Reflects on Recent Trade and Career

When the Boston Red Sox acquired infielder Jonathan Herrera in a recent trade with the Colorado Rockies, they had to give up major league pitcher Franklin Morales and a prospect. That young player was pitcher Chris Martin, a hard-throwing right-handed reliever, who is on the cusp of making his major league debut.

The 27-year-old Martin was considered a good prospect as an amateur. He was drafted out of high school in 2004 by the Detroit Tigers, and again the following year by the Rockies after he had done a year with McLennan Community College. He never signed with either team, opting to continue his education.

After he tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder during his sophomore year, it looked like baseball might be over for him for good. According to The Boston Globe’s Michael Vega, after school, he spent three years working for places like UPS, Lowes and an appliance shop.

After he started playing baseball again recreationally, Martin discovered that he had healed from his injury and was still able to throw effectively—with a fastball that sat comfortably in the 90s. One thing led to another, and in 2010 he signed with the Grand Prairie AirHogs in the independent American Association, which was managed by former major league outfielder Pete Incaviglia.

Martin’s time as an AirHog was a success, as he went 4-0 with a 1.96 ERA in 13 games, earning a 2011 contract with the Red Sox.

Since joining the Boston system, he has progressed steadily, compiling a combined mark of 14-11 with a 3.12 ERA in 88 games over three seasons. He has also struck out nearly a batter per inning and only given up a total of 10 home runs in 222.3 innings.
Martin started 2013 with 21 scoreless innings at Double-A Portland before moving up to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he was 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA. He appears to be ready for a chance to pitch in the majors. Although that opportunity will no longer be from the Red Sox, his new start with the Rockies could be the perfect springboard.

I was able to catch up with Martin just days after his trade. Check out what he had to say about changing organizations and other reflections on his career. If you want to continue monitoring how he makes out with his new team, give him a follow on Twitter and keep looking for his name to pop up on the Colorado roster.

Chris Martin Interview:

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: Growing up in Arlington, Texas, I watched a lot of Rangers games as a kid. Anytime Nolan Ryan was pitching, I was locked in. The reason is because of his mentality. He pitched with confidence and he knew no one was going to touch him.

After you suffered a serious shoulder injury that prevented you from starting a professional playing career after college, what made you decide to make another attempt years later?: Even though I wasn’t playing I always had it in the back of my mind that I could pitch professionally. Just had to be patient and wait for the shoulder to allow me to give it another shot.

What has been your favorite moment from your playing career?: This may sound a little cliché but every moment is my favorite as long as I’m still playing. I know how fast it can be taken away.

How did you find out you had been traded to the Rockies, and how surprised were you?: On Twitter, I saw a post that I was involved in a trade. I called my agent and he didn’t answer, but about a minute after I got a call from the farm director for the Red Sox and he told me that I was traded, and he wished me the best of luck.

Are you disappointed that you reached the highest level of Boston's minor league system but never got to pitch with the big league team?: No. not at all. I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason. Hopefully I can debut in Colorado now.

What do you believe 2014 holds in store for you and your career?: It’s going to be new scenery but it’s still the same game. I just want to be able to contribute in helping win games whether it’s at Triple-A or the big leagues. 

You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

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