Adrian Martinez struggled in 2023, splitting time between Triple-A and the majors. He started 12 of his 13 games at Triple-A, posting an 8.45 ERA with a lousy 7.71 FIP. His strikeout rate was an abysmal 12.6%, and he walked batters at an 11% clip.
His results in Oakland were much different, however. Martinez pitched primarily out of the bullpen for the A's, with 21 of his 22 appearances coming in relief. He posted a 4.75 ERA in 55 innings, struck out 19.5% of batters and lowered his walk rate to 7.9%.
It was a bit of a change for Martinez, who spent 2022 as a starter at both levels. His fastball played up out of the bullpen and once he got into a rhythm, he was fairly effective. Martinez was used as a piggyback starter on a number of occasions and it's possible the A's keep that concept going.
The biggest issue for Martinez is that if he's not going to eat innings, he's not going to be a primary option for Mark Kotsay and the A's. It's possible that Rule 5 pick Mitch Spence completely tanks in the spring and gets sent back to the Yankees, opening up a spot on the opening day roster, but outside of that there might not be space for him.
Martinez should be one of the first guys to get a look when the A's need pitching help in 2024. But based on his performance in 2023 and current expectations, he's most likely to start the year in Las Vegas and work his way into the conversation.