Pittsburgh Pirates: Two Potential International Relief Pitching Free Agents

NAGOYA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 14: Pitcher Yuki Matsui #24 of Japan throws in the top of 9th inning during the game five between Japan and MLB All Stars at Nagoya Dome on November 14, 2018 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
NAGOYA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 14: Pitcher Yuki Matsui #24 of Japan throws in the top of 9th inning during the game five between Japan and MLB All Stars at Nagoya Dome on November 14, 2018 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images) /
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TOPSHOT – Pitcher Raidel Martinez Alazanes del Granma of Cuba throws against Tomateros de Culiacan of Mexico during the Caribbean Baseball Series at the Charros Jalisco stadium in Guadalajara, Jalisco state, Mexico, on February 3, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ULISES RUIZ (Photo credit should read ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT – Pitcher Raidel Martinez Alazanes del Granma of Cuba throws against Tomateros de Culiacan of Mexico during the Caribbean Baseball Series at the Charros Jalisco stadium in Guadalajara, Jalisco state, Mexico, on February 3, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ULISES RUIZ (Photo credit should read ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images) /

RHP Raidel Martinez

A right-handed closing pitcher for the Japan League’s Chunichi Dragons, Raidel Martinez pitched for the Japan team for five seasons. He’s racked up 86 saves while becoming one of the best closers in Japan. Martinez may look to make the jump to the States in 2023.

In the last two years, Martinez has tossed 98.2 innings, working to the tune of a 1.57 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. Martinez has a ton of strikeouts, striking out batters at a 31.3% rate. Not only can he strike anyone out, but he doesn’t allow them to reach via free pass. He’s allowed walks at a 5.8% rate. Home runs are a non-issue for Martinez. He’s only allowed five, leading to a .28 HR/9 rate.

Martinez has the big fastball that most closers have. He averages out in the upper-90s, consistently working around 97 MPH. Not only does Martinez have a plus-plus fastball, but his splitter is a nice secondary offering. While his walk rate doesn’t fully reflect it, his command can get spotty. That is the biggest weakness in his game.

Raidel Martinez has the stuff to be a top-notch reliever in Major League Baseball. The right-hander is more than experienced, pitching professionally since he was 18-years-old. He is currently in his age-25 campaign, so he’s not old, either. At 6’3” and 205 pounds, Martinez has the frame of a pitcher.

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