Thursday, March 19, 2009

Random Thursday: Javier Martinez

Since returning from the desert, The Common Man recognizes he hasn't had anything to say here. And he's sorry about that. The past few days have been busy with recovery, interviews, meetings, and general craziness. He's back in time for this week's randomness, however, so perhaps you will forgive him.

This week's focus is on Javier Martinez, a right-handed reliever who played for the Pirates in 1998. Martinez was originally drafted out of Puerto Rico in the third round of the 1994 draft by the Chicago Cubs. After three solid seasons in the low minors, Martinez was bombed in 1997 while splitting the season between Rockford and Dayton, and was left off the Cubs 40 man roster the following winter. From there, he was picked in the Rule 5 draft by the A's, who sold him to the Pirates for an undisclosed amount. Martinez would get into 37 games in '98, and his 4.83 ERA (90 ERA+) masked how terrible his performance was. In just 41 innings, Martinez had 34 walks, 4 HBPs, and 5 wild pitches. Also, he managed to accumulate 10 unearned runs in those 41 innings, which worked out to an unacceptable 7.02 runs allowed/9. Martinez returned to the minors the following year, but never found the plate again. In 96 professional innings after leaving the majors, Martinez walked 86 batters, until he himself walked away from the game in 2004. Martinez was promoted before his time, obviously, and something about his experience caused his BB/9 to almost double. He became another in a long line of failed pitching prospects.

But for one summer, Martinez had a job. A good job. Dynamic and well-paying. For the summer of 1998, Martinez was a major league pitcher. The Common Man will never be able to say that, but will dream about The Boy being able to throw 90+ until it becomes clear that he's just as short as his father. However, today, The Common Man can relate to the sudden realization Martinez must have had when he was selected and kept by the Pirates, that he had new, stable, and exciting new positionm with a different organization. For today The Common Man was hired to a new position. The new job will start next Tuesday and The Common Man is incredibly excited by the compensation it will provide, as well as the stimulation. The Common Man feels the need to explain this just so you know what's going on. The Common Man fully intends to keep this blog going and to write, as he did before this week, new material every day (or nearly so). He's hoping that the new job will provide greater structure, meaning that new content will be available at a predictable time, so as to make things easier for you, the readers, and him, the writer. As The Common Man enters this new chapter in his life, he hopes you'll continue for the ride, and that he doesn't lose the plate like Martinez did.

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