The Effect of Carlos Martinez's Changeup in Fantasy Baseball

Carlos Martinez and his increased changeup usage will benefit fantasy owners as well as the St. Louis Cardinals.

23-year-old Carlos Martinez looked great in his first start for the Cardinals against the Reds, and it can probably be attributed to his increased usage of a changeup. He’s almost reached his changeup total from last year, and he’s only had one start and one relief appearance thus far in 2015.

Take a look at the chart below -- albeit a tiny sample size -- showing Martinez's changeup numbers.

Pitches% of Total Pitches

Thus far, here's the effect it's having on hitters.


According to FanGraphs and their plate discipline statistics (SwStr%, O-Swing %, O-Contact %, Z-Swing %, and Z-Contact %), Martinez's changeup is generating swing and misses as well as limiting contact. Martinez is still getting batters to swing at his changeup outside of the zone, and it’s promising to see that they’re only making contact half of the time. The impact his changeup can have was evident in his start against the Reds when he was able to get hitters to swing and miss consistently throughout the game.

It’s hard to make a definitive statement given our sample size is so, so small, but if this trend continues, you can expect him to produce quality starts and keep hitters off balance throughout the season. If nothing else, it's something to look out for.

Here’s the video from his recent start to support the numbers that his changeup is an exceptional pitch and can have a huge impact on his outings.

Martinez is only owned in 37.9% of ESPN leagues, and should be given serious consideration in deeper leagues if you want a pitcher with high upside.