CARLOS ERNESTO MARTINEZ
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   RHP
Home: N/A Team:   CARDINALS
Height: 6' 0" Bats:   R
Weight: 180 Throws:   R
DOB: 9/21/1991 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 18  
Birth City: Puerto Plata, D. R.
Draft: 2010 - Cardinals - Free agent - Out of the D.R.
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G IP H SO BB GS CG SHO SV W L OBA ERA
2010 DSL DSL-Cardinals   12 59 28 78 14 12 1   0 3 2 0.144 0.76
2011 FSL PALM BEACH   10 46 49 48 30 10 0 0 0 3 3 0.262 5.28
2011 MWL QUAD CITIES   8 38.2 27 50 14 8 0 0 0 3 2 0.189 2.33
2012 TL SPRINGFIELD   15 71.1 62 58 22 14 0 0 0 4 3   2.90
2012 FSL PALM BEACH   7 33 29 34 10 7 0 0 0 2 2   3.00
2013 NL CARDINALS   21 28.1 31 24 9 1 0 0 1 2 1 0.282 5.08
2013 PCL MEMPHIS   13 68 54 63 27 13 0 0 0 5 3   2.51
2013 TL SPRINGFIELD   3 11.2 11 9 1 3 0 0 0 1 0   2.31
2014 NL CARDINALS $505.00 57 89.1 90 84 36 7 0 0 1 2 4 0.266 4.03
2014 PCL MEMPHIS   2 10.1 6 7 1 2 0 0 0 1 0   0.00
2015 NL CARDINALS $520.00 31 179.2 168 184 63 29 0 0 0 14 7 0.25 3.01
2016 NL CARDINALS $539.00 31 195.1 169 174 70 31 0 0 0 16 9 0.233 3.04
2017 NL CARDINALS $4,500.00 25 161.1 136 169 56 25 1 1 0 10 9 0.227 3.57
Personal
  • Martinez originally had plans to become a priest but changed his mind soon after starting to catch the attention of Major League scouts.

  • In the winter before 2011 spring training, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Martinez as the third best prospect in the Cardinals' organization. They moved him up a notch, to #2 in the St. Louis farm system, in the spring of 2012. And he was back at #3 in the offseason before 2013 and #2 in 2014 before spring camps opened.

  • April 2, 2013: Martinez received his work visa and arrived in Jupiter, Fla., as minor league camp ended, more than three months after he applied for the visa. Carlos began the year in extended spring training before joining the Double-A rotation.

    The Cardinals and Carlos both began working on getting the visa before Christmas, but he did not receive it until late March.

  • February 26, 2014: Martinez issued a public apology for the distraction created when Deadspin pointed out the volume of inappropriate images that appeared on his Twitter account. He later added that the incident has prompted him to "take a break" from social media. And he said that someone had hacked his Twitter acount, putting porn sites on it.

  • It's hard to miss the energy and charisma that Carlos brings to the mound, along with a fastball and complementing curveball. And apparently you have to listen to him too, to get the full appreciation of his gregarious personality.

    "He comes back in and he's saying all kinds of stuff, sounds like a rooster sometimes," manager Mike Matheny began to explain after the team's series win. "I haven't figured that one out yet. Whatever he's doing, guys are laughing, and they're smiling. That energy that you're talking about when you bring young guys up is contagious. And then he made a couple things happen, too.

    "If you're just out here making all kinds of noise and not producing, that's a whole different animal. But he's doing a nice job making things happen on the mound and, today, at the plate."

    The Cardinals have never questioned the potential, long labeling Martinez as one of the most exciting young arms in the system. One of his tasks now is to improve that efficiency so he can go deeper into games. The upside is certainly high, and the club sets itself up to use him as a starter as long as needed.

    "I've never seen a lack of confidence from this kid no matter what the situation," Matheny said. "Maybe one time when he came up in 2013, it looked like he was a little shell shocked, and that's when Yadi knocked some sense into him on the mound. After that, I haven't seen a guy where I didn't look out there and not think, 'This guy has complete confidence and is going to get the job done.' That's one of his greatest strengths."  (Langosch - mlb.com - 7/3/14)

  • Carlos was surprised to discover that he will be occupying a new spot in the Cardinals' clubhouse in the spring of 2015. Moved from his usual locker locale and displaced from the area designated for the pitchers, Martinez now occupies the stall closest to the clubhouse entrance. The location puts Martinez next to veteran catcher Yadier Molinafor the duration of camp.

    "Wow," Martinez, speaking through an interpreter, said of the unexpected relocation to what was, a year ago,Mark Ellis's space. "It's huge. I'm going to have help from him, and it's important that I feel more comfortable around him now. I know I'm going to get a lot of advice from him."

    The move was Molina's idea, one that manager Mike Matheny signed off on without hesitation. "He's getting around the right people," Matheny said. "The thing I love about this organization, these veterans, are that they are just teachers. Carlos is going to be the recipient of baseball talk."

    For years, Molina has encouraged the organization's Spanish-speaking players to pull up a stool and join him for discussion prior to workouts. So Molina's locker gesture means that he'll spend even more time with Martinez, who is ready to move beyond a trying offseason and prove himself ready for a rotation spot.

    Martinez will make his pitch for the job wearing No. 18, the number he requested to wear in honor of his late teammate, Oscar Taveras. The October 2014 death of Taveras, who Martinez has described as being "like a brother," prompted many within the organization to reach out to Martinez during the ensuing months. It was also the genesis of Molina's gesture.

    Martinez said. "I'm trying to work on [commanding] the strike zone, because I know it's important so that I can throw more innings, especially now that I'm a starter."

    He is stronger, putting on the additional muscle in hopes it will help him handle the workload required of a starting pitcher. (Langosch - mlb.com - 2/16/15)

  • Carlos says "Pedro Martinez is my favorite because people have said I look like him when I am pitching."

    Asked what is his preferred meal before he pitches, Martinez said, "Rice, beans and meat—seasoned like they do in the Dominican Republic."

    How do you celebrate a victory? "I always thank God for the opportunity to win and hope that I have another one."

    Why did you start throwing a cup of water in the face of teammates? "I used to give them a cup of water and then one day (in July 2015), Matt Carpenter was in a hot streak and it was a very hot day so I decided to cool him off. He liked it so we kept doing it, and soon I was doing it to everyone. They all like it except Yadi, who says he'd rather have a beer." (Cardinals Magazine - May 2016)

  • Dec 23, 2016: Six years after he began shining shoes as a way to support his family, Carlos Martinez was certain that he had found his calling. He was 12 years old and one of three brothers sharing a cramped bedroom in a home in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, that appeared prone to toppling over with the next gust of wind. They lived with their grandma. Other family members came and went, further cramping the modest two-bedroom home nestled near the base of a hill.

    Martinez was often found playing Vitilla, a modified game of baseball using bottlecaps and broomsticks, in his Dominican neighborhood, though in those preteen days he had no idea where the sport would take him. It was merely a form of recreation. As for a purpose? That would be found in the Catholic Church. Martinez had been invited to a Church-sponsored retreat designed to help local children decide whether the path to priesthood was one they desired to walk. Martinez was particularly struck by the opportunity to do good. He saw the Church engaged in community outreach, delivering bags of rice, clothes and other food to those in need.

    "That's when this whole giving back to the community started in my heart," Martinez says now, with agent Brian Mejia serving as a translator. "I just liked being a part of that."

    Of course, plans don't always stay on script. After four years of course work, Martinez ran into a roadblock when he registered for high school. He didn't have a proper birth certificate—the same issue, incidentally, that would keep him from signing with the Red Sox a year later. The cost to obtain the necessary paperwork was more than his family had, so Martinez was left with no choice but to drop out of the program. It was then that he started taking baseball even more seriously.

    Sport would eventually carry him out of the Dominican Republic and onto the television screens of many. With a four-pitch mix and early career comparisons to Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, Carlos Ernesto Martinez profiles as a future ace for the St. Louis Cardinals. But while his path may have pivoted, Martinez has discovered that what he most wanted to do as a teenager in Puerto Plata is what he actually has the means to do now. For through baseball, Martinez, 25, found the platform to give back in ways he never imagined. And the impact has been extraordinary.

    "I see him as a young adult that is really super gracious for what God has given him and the ability God has given him to help his family and help the community," said Lt. Noe Marquez of the Fairmont City (Ill.) Police Department.

    "These are impoverished and disadvantaged families and students who look to someone like Carlos because they can identify with him," said Toni Ponder, the school's senior development director. "They think, 'I can do this, too. I can be successful.' He really promotes education and doing well in school and shooting for your dreams, to never give up. He has a message for our students that is very empowering." (J Langosch - MLB.com - Dec 23, 2016)

  • January 2017: Martinez committed to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the old adage goes. It's a sentiment that clearly applies to Carlos, as he demonstrated in the first inning at Busch Stadium on July 4, 2017.

    Perched in the dugout as most starters enjoying an off-day do, Martinez saw fit to pay homage to the trio of Cardinals hitters who headed to the plate against Jose Urena in the game's opening frame. That is to say, Martinez amusingly struck poses imitating the batting approach and stance of Matt Carpenter, Tommy Pham, and Stephen Piscotty.  And give Martinez credit: He did this very convincingly, as he fully committed to the bit.  (Garro - mlb.com - 7/4/17)

  • July 7, 2017:  The Carlos Martinez who took the mound against the Mets was ostensibly the same Martinez who has taken the mound for the Cardinals every fifth day so far this season. However, you'd be forgiven for taking a second or two to come to that realization because he made a pretty significant alteration to his hair: He dyed it blue.

    Apparently, Martinez's wife -- perhaps with the Ship of Theseus in mind -- suggested he make the change following a rough start against the Nationals. Though Friday provided another rough outing, it may be that the change in hair needs more time to have an impact. (Eric Chesterton-Cut4-MLB)

  • Carlos says his favorite subject in school was social science.  His favorite meal: grilled chicken and broccoli.  Martinez admits that he's always wanted to try singing professionally.

  • Making waves is something Carlos has done since he started playing professional baseball, which makes his "Tsunami" nickname fitting.

    When Martinez learned that he could choose a moniker for the back of his jersey for the inaugural Players Weekend on Aug. 25-27, 2017, the decision to wear "Tsunami" was instantaneous.

    "'Tsunami' started when I was playing in the Dominican League and coming up. I feel comfortable with that name," Martinez said through an interpreter. "That's just what everyone kind of knows me as. I feel comfortable in that name, and I feel happy."

    Martinez's path to professional baseball was not an easy one. He grew up in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, in a modest home with few resources. His journey to reaching his dreams included changing from a position player to a pitcher and going through extensive tryouts with different organizations. Martinez finally signed with the Cardinals in 2010.

    It didn't take long for the pitcher to show what he was capable of. Martinez earned the nickname in his first professional season with the Dominican Summer League. With the power of his fastball reaching over 100 mph, a fan yelled that Martinez was so impressive, "He's like a tsunami taking over this League." The name caught on, with everyone in the DSL referring to him as "Tsunami" instead of Carlos.  

    Martinez carried the name to the big leagues, where he has certainly maintained his dominant presence. He also founded a nonprofit organization called Tsunami Waves, which he uses to give back to children in the Dominican Republic and St. Louis. Martinez will represent his foundation throughout Players Weekend, as players will have the opportunity during pregame workouts and postgame interviews to wear T-shirts highlighting a charity or cause of their choice.

    "Obviously a tsunami is something big, something impactful, so we want to cause an impact," Martinez said through an interpreter. "I want my charity to be something big and that will leave an impact, so that's kind of why I named it Tsunami Waves."  (Getzenberg - mlb.com - 8/15/17)

    TRANSACTIONS

  • June 2, 2010: Once known as Carlos Matias, he signed with the Cardinals as a free agent, out of the Dominican Republic. His bonus was a reported $1.5 million. Juan Mercado is the scout who signed him.

    Carlos previously had a deal with the Red Sox for $160,000, as a shortstop, but was suspended for a year because of inaccuracies regarding his age and identity. His real name is Carlos Martinez. The Cardinals spent weeks piecing together the proof needed sign him.

  • February 2, 2017: Martinez and the Cardinals agreed on a five-year, $51 million pact.
Pitching
  • Martinez has a 94-100 mph four-seam FASTBALL with a hard, natural-cutting action he throws 30-35 percent of the time. And he has a 90-96 mph two-seam heavy SINKER he throws 20-25 percent of the time. He also has a 78-80 mph SLIDER with late break and a sinking 86-87 mph CHANGEUP that is more effective when he doesn't throw it too hard. 

  • 2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 32.2% of the time; Sinker 26.2% of the time; Change 18.1%; Slider 22.8%; and Curve .8% of the time.

  • His changeup shows promising fade and has the potential to become a fourth quality offering. He worked with Pedro Martinez on the change the offseason before 2015. Pedro told Carlos: Use the most comfortable grip for his change. And he now throws it twice as much as ever before. (August 2015)

  • At 6-foot and 185 pounds, Martinez has an electric arm. When he uses his entire arsenal and doesn't favor one pitch over another, Martinez can be very tough to hit.
  • Carlos has a whippy arm action. But it is an easy delivery. The Cardinals are trying to get him smoother and more consistent with his mechanics, which would improve his command. Martinez has a natural delivery but sometimes strays from it and his command wobbles. 

  • Some scouts see him as too small to handle starting, but his frame belies a wiry strength, and his efficient mechanics will help. And his flamboyance has made him one of the most highly touted arms in the minors. (June 2013)  

  • April 24, 2015: Though designated a fifth starter by rotation order alone, Martinez has hardly shown himself a weak link in the Cardinals rotation. Hindered by inefficiency as a spot-starter in 2014, Martinez continues to hurdle that obstacle with ease this season.  

    Those results come, of course, after he spent the spring battling just to crack the rotation. Now, he's growing up before everyone's eyes.  "He can be pretty special," said Yadier Molina. "He's getting aggressive, attacking the hitter, putting away with that slider and changeup. He's doing well."  

    "I felt really good with the fastball, so I tried to throw the fastball really hard," said Martinez. "I felt comfortable. I commanded the strike zone real well."  That power fastball continues to be complemented by a changeup and slider that Martinez has shown great confidence in.  

    "I think it's him learning how to use his stuff," manager Mike Matheny said. "I can't say enough about how he's embraced the idea of using his changeup, using his breaking ball, getting early strikes, so everything isn't just hard and harder. That typically messes with the timing of the hitter, which then leads to some earlier outs." (J. Langosch - MLB.com - April 25, 2015)  

  • March 11, 2016: Perhaps Martinez's spring could best be described as controlled. Not only could that be used to describe the way in which the Cardinals have brought him along in camp, but it's also how they hope he pitches.

    The emotion and flair Martinez demonstrates from the mound is welcomed by the Cardinals, that is, as long as Martinez is able to channel it to his benefit. It's a discussion the team has had with the right-hander the past few seasons and one it seems that he's taking to even more so this spring.

    "[The conversation is] about monitoring that balance of the enthusiasm and the aggressiveness and the emotion with what's keeping you from being consistent," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think he's been taking positive strides and figuring out what that looks like." (J Langosch - Mlb.com - March 11, 2016)

  • As of the start of the 2017 season, Carlos has a career record of 34-21 with 3.32 ERA, having allowed only 33 home runs and 458 hits in 492 innings.

  • April 15, 2017: Martinez joined "Wild" Bill Hallahan as the only pitchers in Cardinals history to strike out 11 and walk eight in a start. Hallahan did so twice in 1930.

    Martinez was the 27th pitcher in Major League history to do so, and the first since Randy Johnson in 1993. Remarkably, Nolan Ryan hit those walk and strikeout totals in a game 13 different times.

Career Injury Report
  • August 19-28, 2011: Martinez was on the D.L.
  • May 19, 2012: Carlos was on the D.L. with mild shoulder tendinitis for a month.
  • September 30, 2015: Martinez was done for the year because of a shoulder strain and was placed on the 60-day DL.