I was lucky enough to catch Carlos Martinez's FSL debut tonight. Here are my thoughts.
The raw stuff is absolutely amazing. The FB was sitting 97-98 and touched 99 a few times. It's a little straight but at 97-98 I won't complain. I think the velo is a little sneaky, too. The delivery doesn't have much deception to it, but Martinez is such a little guy and doesn't look like he's putting much effort into it; the FB doesn't look that fast but then you glance at the gun and it's 98. I can't know for sure but I'd guess that it sneaks up on a hitter a bit. The curve was equally impressive. It came in at 81 MPH consistently with a sharp, sweeping break. The break was somewhere between 10-4 and 11-5, which I guess could be a red flag long-term (too horizontal), but it's such a hard pitch and the break itself is so tight that I won't question it. As long as he commands it I don't think it will be a problem. Finally, yes, Martinez has a changeup, and yes, it flashes plus. More than flashes, even, maybe, as it was a damn good pitch probably 50% of the time he threw it. The first few he threw were no good and I wasn't even sure what the pitch was supposed to be, but he broke out an absolute beauty on the first pitch against the fourth batter. It was 88 MPH and broke sharp and late, down and away from the lefty. It looked like a slider that broke the wrong way. It was ridiculous and when I saw it I laughed out loud at how absurdly good it was.
I'm not scout enough to tell the difference between "plus" and "plus-plus," but I wouldn't be surprised to hear a scout throw a "plus-plus" on any of these pitches. The arsenal is unbelievable.
That said, there were a lot of negatives about the outing as well. For one, Martinez doesn't throw either of the secondaries consistently well. He was better with the curve, but there were a handful without the same sharp break as the rest. The change was 50/50, with roughly half of them not really breaking at all. Both pitches were good enough to be effective against FSL hitters even when they weren't thrown well, but he'll need to tighten things up in the long run. In addition, his command was poor. Maybe nerves played a role, but he was extremely inconsistent in hitting his spots, and missed by a large margin fairly frequently. On the positive side, he didn't miss up in the zone too much. He tended to miss wildly rather than just leaving pitches up. As with the consistency, I don't think the command will matter much in the FSL but he'll need to improve as he moves up the ladder. Finally, stamina was an issue. By the fifth inning, he was sitting 94-95 with the FB and 85-86 with the change. The curve was anywhere from 77-81 by that time. What's worse is that the command deteriorated even further along with the velo. By the sixth his command was completely gone. After two batters in that inning (an HBP and a BB, if I recall correctly) he scrapped his change and just threw the FB and curve as hard as he could right down the middle. He got back up to 97 with that approach and had mixed results: a couple Ks but also a couple hits/runs. Again, that will play in the FSL because his stuff is so good, but it's a concern long-term. Finally, not that I put too much stock in it, but it should be noted that his stature is very underwhelming. He's listed at 6'0" 165 and I believe it. I have no idea if that will cause trouble in the long-term but it's definitely something you notice while watching him pitch. He just doesn't have a classic workhorse body.
Overall, I'd say I was really impressed by Martinez. Despite all the negatives I mentioned, the kid is only 19 and has plenty of time to sort this stuff out. And he's got the kind of stuff you just can't teach. I think he was only slightly less impressive than Matt Moore was when I saw him last year (at a time when Moore was still struggling pretty mightily with command).
Unfortunately, I didn't get to interview him. Sorry.