Corbin Martin excited for chance to show D-backs what they traded for

Feb 23, 2021, 10:04 AM | Updated: 12:12 pm
Houston Astros starting pitcher Corbin Martin throws during the first inning of a baseball game aga...
Houston Astros starting pitcher Corbin Martin throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Corbin Martin hasn’t been part of the professional baseball player’s daily grind since mid-2019. A top-100 MLB prospect by most accounts heading into that season, Martin’s year came to an end when he underwent Tommy John surgery on July 3.

On July 31, the Houston Astros starting pitching prospect was traded with three others in a blockbuster deal that ended Zack Greinke’s time with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

A year-and-a-half later, Martin is finally healthy as spring training kicks into full-go this week.

“I feel great. It’s just nice to go out and do everyday activities with the team. Last year was a tough year pretty much being in the training room, watching everyone go out there and do everyday stuff,” Martin told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Tuesday.

“It’s nice to be back in the swing of things and be pretty much 100%.”

The D-backs finally get to see what they have in Martin.

But for the 25-year-old, his career in Arizona begins from the ground up. The righty, a second-round pick of Houston in 2017, knows he’ll have to build his confidence this spring.

“Just get back out there and throwing strikes, just being confident in my stuff,” he said of his goals over the next several weeks. “I think that’s going to be the biggest step for me is facing hitters again and being in games, just to get that confidence back like, ‘OK, I’m back. I can do this still.'”

Martin is relatively inexperienced in the big leagues.

He made five starts for the Astros in May 2019 and struggled, giving up eight home runs and 12 earned runs with 19 strikeouts to 12 walks in 19.1 innings. Martin displayed a four-seamer in the mid-90s complemented by a slider, curve and changeup.

In the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League that year, Martin fared relatively well with a 3.13 ERA and 45 strikeouts to 18 walks in 37.1 innings.

How quickly he can return to that form is hard to say coming off the long layoff.

Likely, the D-backs think there’s a good bet that he can make a full recovery in time. It’s why he was included in a trade package for Greinke that also featured slugger Seth Beer, the versatile Josh Rojas and fellow pitcher J.B. Bukauskas.

Off the field, Martin has progressed, too. He got married and welcomed a baby to the family in 2020.

As far as baseball goes, the rehab process has given him too much time to reflect on his career thus far. Martin feels those five games of MLB experience before his injury were valuable.

“I had a lot of adrenaline going … I think I just lost track of who I was as a baseball player. I tried to do too much,” he said. “You got to study the game, too. You can’t just go out and throw.

“I feel like I have really good feel in the zone,” Martin added. “That’s something I struggled with when I got called up in ’19: I just lost track of the feel of the strike zone and tried to do too much, tried be be, I guess, too perfect. I think if I’m in the zone, just trusting my stuff, that’s when I get pretty comfortable on the mound.”

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Corbin Martin excited for chance to show D-backs what they traded for