The St. Louis Cardinals have promoted top pitching prospect Carlos Martinez and scheduled the young right-hander to make his first big-league start Thursday evening, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Martinez will take the hill opposite fellow rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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Martinez, 21, was ranked Baseball America's No. 38 prospect before the season, and has only raised his stock since then. The right-hander has dominated the minor-league competition this year at both Double- and Triple-A, posting a 1.87 earned-run average and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than two-to-one in 62⅔ innings.
The 6'0, 185-pound right-hander has had two brief cups of coffee with the Cardinals this season, but worked exclusively out of the bullpen on both occasions. While he didn't have the best results out of the 'pen -- 5.56 ERA in 11⅓ innings -- his promise (and stuff) was clearly evident.
Martinez boasts a plus fastball that reaches the upper 90s -- and can hit triple digits -- which he complements with a stellar change-up and a decent curveball. His combination of short stature and powerful stuff has drawn comparisons to fellow Dominican Pedro Martinez, and many believe he has the upside of a frontline starter.
In addition to Martinez, St. Louis has also recalled lefty reliever Sam Freeman from Triple-A. Freeman, 26, owns a 2.95 ERA and nearly a strikeout per innings in 64 innings at Memphis this year. The Cardinals optioned righty reliever Keith Butler and corner infielder/outfielder Brock Peterson back to the minors to make room on the roster.