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Legends On Deck

LOD Exclusive Interview: RHP Josh Martin – Indians

Photo by Mathew Carper

The Cleveland Indians selected RHP Josh Martin in the 10th round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Samford University in Alabama. Martin was actually drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 25th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft, but the Alabama native chose to return to school instead.

“School was very important to me. I went to Samford on an Academic Scholarship and I was a walk-on to the baseball team. I didn’t want to leave [in 2011], especially with the way that year had gone. I started off just really terrible, and it got to the point where I wasn’t even sure if I was making the travel roster each weekend. I was just confident that I would do better the next year.” Martin continues, “After making that decision, things just worked out in the long run.”

Martin’s decision to return to school not only awarded with notching the school record with 24 wins (12-2 in 2012) but also with a higher draft selection and probably more memories than one could have asked for, “Looking back, I got another year of college ball to learn who I was as a pitcher, had a good year with a lot of great buddies and we were able to get a conference championship in the process.“

That season, he started his pro career with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Class-A Low) of the New York Penn League. He appeared in 14 games, starting three, and struck out 41 batters through 45.2 innings, posting a 4-1 record. He was then sent to their Class-Advanced club, the Carolina Mudcats, appearing in three games in relief.

In 2013, the 6’5” right hander started the season with the Lake County Captains (Class-A Full season), appearing in 23 games (one start), finishing with a 3-3 record, a 3.38 ERA, and 47 strikeouts in 40 innings. Then on July 7th, Martin was sent back to the Mudcats for 16 games to finish out the season.

In 2014, Martin returned to the Mudcats for the third time and in 38 games out of the pen, he recorded a 5-6 record, with a 2.92 ERA, three saves, and 65 strikeouts in 64.2 innings.

The 2015 season allowed Martin to show the organization just how valuable his arm was as he took his promotion to Double-A Akron RubberDucks and ran with it. Martin had by far the most productive season of his minor league career finishing 8-1, with a 2.27 ERA, two saves, while recording 80 strikeouts in 67.1 innings. Martin was also named an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star for Akron.

“The wins that I picked up [in 2015] were when we would take the lead late in games or I started after a rain delay, so it was like I was the Rain Delay Guy,” says Martin amused by the nickname.

After the season, the Indians left Martin unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft and the San Diego Padres took a chance on the rising relief pitcher. But it didn’t go as planned for either, as Martin struggled in his spring training with the Padres posting a 10.64 ERA in 12 games.

“That was honestly the worse spring training I could have asked for. It was very frustrating and my mechanics were off. I’m a curve ball guy and I didn’t have my curve ball, nor could I locate my fastball, it was just all together terrible,” shared Martin as he recalled a great opportunity that slipped away.

He continued, “How I lasted that long in camp to the last day, I was very surprised.”

Even though the Padres tried to find ways to keep Martin, he was sent back to the Indians, and the Alabama native made the jump to Triple-A with the Columbus Clippers and through 47 games in 2016, he posted a 2-5 record, with a 3.41 ERA, striking out 60 batters through 66 innings, while also earning three saves.

“Being back in the organization that I know and having guys with familiar eyes, helps,” said Martin.

Looking back on what happened with the Padres and how he bounced back with the Clippers, Martin has one man to thank for turning around his career, Indians minor league pitching coach Steve Karsay, “When I returned to the organization, he [Karsay] got me back to where I needed to be. He was able to tell the difference in my mechanics; could tell where I was going wrong, and immediately fixed it, and I was right back where I needed to be and I told him, ‘Where were you a month ago, I could have really used you back then.’

Martin continued, “I can confidently say that Steve Karsay is the reason why I am still playing pro ball.  He has done so much for me in my development to keep me competitive at this level.”

Getting back on track meant that Martin was ready to continue his journey to the majors but he knew that it wouldn’t be easy, “Its really hard to break into a major league bullpen that has been one of the best for the last few years.”

After a full season under his belt, Martin felt confident that the 2017 season would be the one that could get him into the majors, but a setback halted any chance of that happening, “Last season I came out pitching very well, but then I had elbow inflammation that popped up and bone spurs developed. I was on the sidelines for two months. It was the time for me, but I wasn’t healthy.”

Even though his slight setback halted any chances of getting called up, Martin still had a successful season with the Clippers, posting a 1-2 record, with a 3.25 ERA, with four saves, and 38 strikeouts in 36 innings, spanning 30 games.

For his hard-work, the Indians invited Martin to the teams 2018 Spring Training camp as a non-roster invitee and so far through 3.1 innings spanning four games, Martin has done better than his previous two spring training appearances and is hoping that the this upcoming season is the one that allows him to finally reach his goal, of making the majors.

A poised Martin shared, “I feel very confident in my abilities to step onto the big league team, be able to pitch and be apart of their bullpen. It’s all about timing now.” He continued, “This is a big year for me, I really want to do well and put myself in a real good situation.”

Thank you Josh for sharing your journey with Legends on Deck and our faithful followers and we wish you the best of luck as you continue to work hard to finally reach your ultimate goal.

David Conde

David Conde

Co-Founder/Executive Editor at Legends On Deck®
David is the Founder and Executive Editor of Legends On Deck®. He was a Senior Editor for MetsMerizedOnline, MetsMinors.net and Contributor for Hardballchat.com. David's idea forLegends on Deck is to be a site where passionate fans of the game have a place to read about their favorite baseball teams. The site is also for people who had a talent to write or even take photographs and have the platform to share. The passion of following the Minor Leagues can be seen all over the site as the players journey's are what what drives the LOD team to share their content. David's passion is making available a site that people can have fun sharing and reading.

You can also reach out to David at daconde@legendsondeck.com
David Conde