Chris Martin was a late-blooming reliever. He broke out at the age of 32 and has been one of the better relief pitchers in the league since. Even though 2023 will be his age-37 campaign, Martin is coming off the best season in his career and will look for a high-leverage role this off-season.
Martin pitched a total of 56 innings with the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. He had a healthy 3.05 ERA but an amazing 2.18 FIP and 0.98 WHIP. Martin had the 13th-lowest FIP among all qualified relief pitchers in 2022. Martin avoided walks like the plague, posting a 2.2% walk rate, the lowest walk rate in MLB. Don’t be mistaken; Martin also struck out nearly a third of the batters he faced with a 32.9% strikeout rate. He easily led the league in K:BB ratio by a margin of 4.63 strikeouts (posted a 14.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio). Martin was great when it mattered the most. He held opponents to a putrid .216/.222/.353 mark. Overall, he held opponents to a .566 OPS from the seventh inning onward.
The only real knock on his season was his .96 HR/9 rate, which is still right around the league average. Martin induced ground balls 49% of the time, which was the second-best mark of his career. It’s not as if luck was playing in Martin’s favor. He had a 1.87 SIERA and 2.01 xFIP, supporting his strong surface numbers.
Although Martin may be one of the oldest relief pitchers on the free agent market, he’s proven time and time again that he can be a productive relief pitcher. There’s no signs of slowing down for Martin, and he’s one reliever the Pirates defintiely should put in their crosshairs.