Going head-to-head with Clayton Kershaw is a tall task, but St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez is a clear-cut All-Star this season.
After seeing teammates Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal earn a spot on the National League All-Star team Monday, Carlos Martinez is now fighting for his Midsummer Classic rights as one of the Final Vote candidates.
The hard-throwing right-hander is battling the likes of the Colorado Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki, Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, Cincinnati Reds’ Johnny Cueto and New York Mets’ Jeurys Familia for the final spot on the National League roster.
Martinez has been outstanding this season as a member of a St. Louis starting rotation that has battled injuries to Wacha and Lance Lynn already this year, not to mention losing Jaime Garcia again recently.
As for the Dominican Republic native, he told MLB.com that he is just excited for the opportunity at-hand.
"“It’s a little complicated to go through another round [of voting], but I’m going to keep playing and am excited [for the possibility of being] in that kind of rotation,” Martinez said through a translator. “I feel I belong there. If I don’t make it, I’m just happy to be in that situation.”"
In 16 starts and one relief appearance this season, the 23-year-old righty has a 2.70 earned run average, which ranks ninth in the National League, just points behind Wacha (2.66).
He also comes in as the eighth-most valuable arm in the NL in terms of wins above replacement (WAR) at 2.5, which is actually better than Clayton Kershaw’s 1.7 – something that would likely surprise most.
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Most are going to point at the reigning National League Cy Young and MVP winner as the clear-cut choice for the Final Vote. However, they would be blatantly wrong in overlooking the Cards’ dominant young starter.
After his last start, Martinez has rattled off nine-straight quality starts, and he matches Kershaw in the fact that he has turned in quality outings in all but three of his starts this season.
Make no mistake; both pitchers are equally impressive. But in an age where accolades tend to fall to the front-runners each and every year, it’s up to St. Louis Cardinals fans to change the tide.