A Look at J.D. Martin
J.D. Martin was drafted by the Indians in the supplemental first round in 2001, out of high school in Ridgecrest, California. His pro career got off to a great start: he went 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA and 72/11 K/BB in 46 innings (10 starts) for Burlington in the Appy League. In '02, he went 14-5, 3.90, with a 131/46 K/BB for Columbia in the Sally League. However, his '03 and '04 seasons were marred by a sore elbow and some command-within-the-strike zone problems. His ERA rose over 4.00, and his ratios deteriorated somewhat.
Martin has rebounded this season, and has been essentially unstoppable in the early going for Double-A Akron: 20 innings, 7 hits, 1 run (0.45 ERA), with a 28/4 K/BB ratio. Umm, that's pretty good. Here is a recent
MLB.com article about Martin.
Martin doesn't have a blazing fastball, working right around 90 MPH most of the time. But his curveball is excellent, he's improved his changeup, and he throws strikes. I gave him a Grade C in my book, but noted that signs of progress would appear first in his K/IP ratio. I'd say that has happened. Although the sample is small, I will move him to Grade B right now based on his progress this spring. If he continues to pitch like this, that will rise further.