In the wake of the Cardinals’ decision to demote relief pitcher Mitchell Boggs to Class AAA and call up right-handed pitcher Carlos Martinez, we take a look at Martinez‘s ability and future. The Cardinals signed Martinez out of the Dominican Republic in 2010 for a $1.5 million bonus, but he did not pitch in the US until 2011. The 21-year-old Martinez stands just 6’0”. He has never pitched above Double-A, but has enjoyed success across three levels. In 2012, Martinez pitched at High Single-A and Double-A, and pitched to a 2.93 ERA across 104 1/3 innings. Martinez is very similar to the last pitcher we covered, Yordano Ventura, because they are both relatively short power-pitchers, who could end up as top starting pitchers or shut down relievers. Throughout his Minor League career, Martinez has been used as a starting pitcher with a three pitch mix, including a fastball, curveball and a circle-change. As a starter, Martinez throws his fastball between 94-98 mph and can dial it up to 100 when needed. He has a tendency to leave the fastball up in the zone where it loses movement, but when he spots it down in the zone his fastball has good late life. Martinez’s curveball has very sharp downward action, making it very tough on right-handed hitters. He has good control of both his fastball and his curveball, but needs to keep the fastball down more consistently. He throws a circle change-up, which is his weakest pitch. Even though it is not his best pitch, the change-up has good arm-side run, but he needs better command of the pitch. He has a tendency to leave the change-up high in the zone, which diminishes the movement and makes it easier to hit. Martinez’s delivery is very violent with a quick arm action. He takes his arm a little too far behind his back and is unable to get it back into position by foot strike. This arm drag is intensified because of his propensity to drift from his balance point, which does not allow his arm to get back up by foot strike. He is able to create a little deception by slightly turning his back to the hitter, which also helps him keep his front side closed. Martinez’s finish is incredibly violent as he strides very far, but after he releases the ball, his front leg straightens and he spins off towards first base. Martinez currently projects as a #2/3 starting pitcher, but he will need to improve his change-up in order to have three plus pitches. After his promotion, Martinez will be used out of the bullpen, where the Cardinals are in dire need for a quality reliever. In my view, Martinez’s size and violent delivery will likely limit him to be a shut down reliever instead of a starter, because he would likely have durability issues as a starter.