Healthy Season Could Catapult Brett Martin To Prominence
It's no secret that the Rangers are shy on prospects at the upper levels, with only lefthander Yohander Mendez expected to be a viable option to contribute in the big leagues this season, barring a breakthrough from righthander Ariel Jurado.
Mendez is destined to start the season at Triple-A Round Rock, while Jurado might have to return to Double-A Frisco.
Lefty Brett Martin could also be at Frisco to open the season. The 22-year-old will again try to make it through a season healthy.
While Martin hasn't been able to do that the past two seasons, his place in big league camp—the first of his career—and the potential start at Double-A speak to the Rangers' urgency to get more prospects closer to the majors.
A 2014 fourth-rounder out of Walters State (Tenn.) JC, Martin is ready to prove that he can be healthy and effective.
"That's the main thing right now is to stay healthy and do what I can do to stay on the field," Martin said. "I just need to find a routine that works and stick to that. There's always something else I can do."
An elbow strain cost Martin time in 2016 and a strained left oblique got him last season. He managed just 33 starts and 133.2 innings the past two seasons.
But the Rangers love his upside, which he has shown in spurts. At high Class A High Desert in 2016, he struck out 15 batters in seven no-hit innings in an eye-opening start during the California League playoffs.
He's still trying to meet his expectations.
"I know what I'm capable of and what I can do, but I haven't shown myself (to be) that," Martin said. "There's that little glimpse before or after an injury, but I've never done it in a full season."
• The Rangers have a third outfielder attempting to convert to pitching. Royce Bolinger, who spent 2017 at Frisco as a position player, is now a righthander. Righty Jairo Beras and lefty James Jones are further along in the conversion and could reach Double-A this season.
• Lefthander Joe Palumbo remains on schedule for a return to game action in July. He expects to begin throwing off a mound before spring training ends after having Tommy John surgery last year after three starts at high Class A Down East.