I was reading over the April winners of the Dodgers Pride awards, and low and behold there was Ethan Martin’s name listed under single-A Great Lakes. According to the release, Martin was 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA (3 ER/20.0 IP) in four starts. In addition, young Ethan struck out 26 batters in 20 innings and held opposing hitters to a .169 batting average.
Martin has looked eager to impress this season after spending much of last season recovering from a knee injury. According to a recent interview with the Saginaw News, Martin fancies himself a Clayton Kershaw type player who can make a big impact in the minors and show the ability to rise quickly if needed in the Majors.
“My goal is to follow his footsteps,” Martin said. “I have a lot of work to do, but it can be done. He’s shown that. Seeing him have the kind of success he’s having helps a lot.”
Both Martin and Kershaw were drafted out of high school by the Dodgers in the first round, and both were highly rated pitching prospects. In fact, according to the Saginaw News, Martin has a bit of an edge on Kershaw in the stats department
Martin, ranked by Baseball America as the Dodgers’ No. 3 prospect, actually has pitched better with the Loons than Kershaw did in 2007. Kershaw was 7-5 with the Loons with a 2.77 earned run average in 20 games. In 97 1/3 innings, Kershaw allowed 72 hits, striking out 134 and walking 50.
Now, Martin finally fell back to earth in a recent outing after being shelled by Burlington. Martin gave up four runs on six hits and struck out four in four innings of work.
In addition, it doesn’t appear that the coaching staff is in any rush to see Martin pushed to his limits. He has yet to be given more than five innings of work by the team despite much of his success, likely following a directive from the Dodgers management to refine control and consistency while building up confidence. Kershaw was shaky in entering the majors late in the season for his MLB debut, and the Dodgers likely will take it slow with Martin to make sure the maturity and consistency are entrenched before calling him up.
Regardless, Martin appears to be the real deal. If he can stay healthy and continue to mature, he could definitely be one to watch. Hopefully the Dodgers will be able to leave him in the minors until next season if nothing more than to help solidify his success in the future.