Oakland Athletics: The unheralded Seth Martinez

The Oakland Athletics may have another top reliever on the horizon, as Seth Martinez is looking to ascend to the majors.

It is rare for a relief prospect to be considered amongst the top prospects on any team. With the exception of those truly special pitchers like Josh Hader, or a team so devoid in talent that the likes of Hunter Harvey can still be a top ten prospect, relievers are often overlooked.

That has been the case with Oakland Athletics relief prospect Seth Martinez. Selected in the 17th round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of Arizona State, Martinez began his minor league career as a starter before transitioning to the bullpen in 2018. That conversion worked wonders, as Martinez began to rocket through the A’s system.

After a solid 2018 campaign, Martinez established himself as a relief prospect to watch last year. Split between the California League and the Texas League, Martinez posted a 2.51 ERA and a 0.949 WHiP, striking out 74 batters with 18 walks in 71.2 innings. He was also impressive at keeping the ball in the yard, allowing just three home runs.

That success earned Martinez a look during the major league portion of spring training. He made one appearance, lasting just one inning, but performed well. He faced three batters, striking out one without allowing a baserunner.

Given his arsenal, this success should not be a surprise. While he had a four pitch mix as a college starter, Martinez was also considered undersized, not likely to hold up to a major league workload. However, with his sinker/slider combination and excellent command, he had all the makings of a ground ball generating reliever, a profile that he has fulfilled thus far in his bullpen journey.

Chances are, Martinez is still a year or so away from making his major league debut. He may well return to AA, where a hot start could lead to a promotion to AAA. With the A’s being ever budget conscious, finding a solid relief option in their system would be a bonus.

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Seth Martinez could be exactly that for the Oakland Athletics. With his arsenal and command, he could be a mainstay in the A’s bullpen in the near future.