ARLINGTON—The Rangers were deemed one of the winners of the Aug. 1 trade deadline with a bevy of deals that cost them their top two pitching prospects and four first-round picks from their past four draft classes.
The Rangers insist that their cupboard isn’t bare and that they could, if necessary, pull off an offseason trade for pitching help. Their sense is that lefthander Brett Martin would be asked about often in any negotiation.
The 21-year-old put the finishing touches on his 2016 season with a stint in the Arizona Fall League, where he played after missing a chunk of the regular season because of an elbow injury.
The injury, he said, helped him learn what kind of pitcher he is and what he must to do to be successful.
“I need to stay within myself,” said Martin, a fourth-round pick in 2014 from Walters State (Tenn.) CC. “Sometimes I try to do too much. It all starts with the fastball. Let the hitters put the ball in play and get themselves out.”
Martin dazzled on Sept. 16 in the California League playoffs, tossing seven no-hit innings and striking out 15 to help send high Class A High Desert to the championship. The start led one Rangers scout at the game to tell general manager Jon Daniels that Martin might be their best pitching prospect.
Martin is a projectable lefty, at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds and with a fastball he has turned into a plus pitch. He is working on a knuckle-curveball that he picked up in the AFL to go with a curveball and changeup.
But he’s also learning how to pitch and learning about the game. He worked on big stages in the Cal League postseason, the AFL and at Petco Park in an instructional league showcase for Rangers and Padres prospects.
“It taught me it doesn’t matter what stadium you’re pitching in—baseball’s still the same,” Martin said. “Baseball hasn’t changed. Just go out there and pitch.”
• The Rangers’ new high Class A Carolina League affiliate will be housed in Kinston, N.C., in 2017 and will be called the Down East Wood Ducks.
• Catcher Jose Trevino was the lone Rangers representative in the AFL Fall Stars Game. The 2014 sixth-round pick out of Oral Roberts threw out a Cal League-leading 48 percent of basestealers in 2016.