St. Louis Cardinals: Carlos Martinez is June’s MVP
Now that we’ve hit the All-Star break, I found some time to talk about the MVP of June for the St. Louis Cardinals.
At the start of the season, I decided to award starting pitcher Mike Leake with the MVP award for the month of April. He was the clear choice in my eyes, and deserved every bit of praise thrown his way. Although he has regressed over the last month or so, he still has the ability to be an effective pitcher on any given night for the St. Louis Cardinals.
In May, I awarded the MVP award to Adam Wainwright. His April was terrible, to say the least, but he bounced back in May to lead the staff when the team needed it most. His turn around on the mound definitely brought some confidence back in Cardinal Nation.
Now that we are in July, most of us are clinging to the idea that Wainwright needs to continue to pitch well to stay in the rotation. It’s a fair assessment, and I think he will come through for the team.
At the start of June, I think most in Cardinal Nation teetered on full rebellion if the team did not start playing better. The team struggled through the month of June, in what I thought was an easy schedule. However, there was one player, in my opinion, that regained form and dominated.
Congratulations to June’s MVP, Carlos Martinez.
This is a very deserving award indeed. In the month of June, Martinez regained form from a so-so April and May.
He regained confidence in his fastball and slider combo, and his change-up was as good of weapon as he has. He also threw his first career complete game shutout against the Phillies on June 10th.
Lets go inside the numbers to see just how good Martinez’s June was.
Martinez threw 33.1 innings in June and amassed a 2.43 ERA. He gave up a total of nine earned runs over the month, struck out forty-one hitters, and walked eleven batters. He also held opponent’s to a .191 batting average, a .286 OBP, a .296 SLG, and a .561 OPS. While his My number’s look just as good, if not, better, Martinez accomplished June in one fewer start.
Just for the sake of argument, I forecast what might have been if Martinez started one more game. I used his game log data to stretch that out to one more start. If Martinez would have received another start at the end of June, his game line would have looked close to this:
6IP, 5 hits, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO
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His ERA for the month would have been right at 2.54, a very respectable number. He would have eclipsed May’s strikeouts by seven and would have finished with same amount of earned runs.
All in all, June and May were not that far from each other. It just so happens the St. Louis Cardinal offense decided to play in May and not June.
I think one thing that helped Martinez in June was keeping the ball in the park. In May he gave up four home runs compared to June’s two.
While his July has not been kind to him in this department, Martinez was able to keep team’s from scoring on the big fly. This shows through his strike out totals in June.
So if his June and May aren’t too far apart, why does he receive June MVP honors?
In all honesty, regardless of his numbers in May and June, he was just more consistent than any other player on the team. He was the lone bright spot for the St. Louis Cardinals in a month where pitching and offense were non-existent. The team was visibly struggling to put wins together, but Martinez looked always ready to be on the mound and win.
His record would surely be better if the offense and defense didn’t let him down, but how much value can you put in wins and losses? My point is this: Carlos Martinez single-handedly kept the starting pitching from being a complete utter disaster, and gave the St. Louis Cardinals a chance to win on the mound in June. The closest starter’s ERA in June to Martinez’s 2.43 was Mike Leake’s 4.30. That’s how good Martinez was in June.
I know his July isn’t off to the greatest start, but discount what he was able to accomplish in June. Unfortunately, the narrative on Martinez is beginning to switch over to whether he is the ace of this staff. Carlos Martinez is the ace of this staff because he gives the Cardinals the best chance to win when he pitches. Does he still have to learn a few things. Absolutely, but he will learn soon enough.
Next: Josh Donaldson is a smoke screen
I know some of you out there will give me grief on Tommy Pham. While he was a huge factor in June, it was more so towards the end of June. I gave the award to the player I thought was consistent through the entire month. However, if you disagree, le me know why.