Shortly before the July 31 trade deadline, the Philadelphia Phillies shipped outfielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for a Double-A starting pitcher and a quality relief pitcher.
Both seemed like solid enough players at the time – and then one turned out to be even better than anticipated. The other, however, had a miserable stretch in his first action with his new team.
Ethan Martin was the starting pitcher the Phillies got, and he immediately made a big impact for the Dodgers. Martin went 5-0 with a 3.18 ERA in seven starts, giving up just 6.6 hits over nine innings. He finished the season at 13-6 with a 3.48 ERA in 27 starts, cementing his status as one of the top 10 prospects within the Phillies organization.
Martin walks too many batters still (4.5/9 for the year) but he strikes out a decent amount (8.7/9), and he can be tough to hit against. Martin gave up just 6.7 per nine innings for the entire season, and he was taken yard just eight times all year. He may begin the year in Double-A again in 2013 but he will definitely be up to Triple-A soon and there’s an outside chance he might see major league action by next September’s roster expansion to 40 players.
It’s still too soon to tell if Martin will ever develop into a quality starter for the Phillies at the major league level, but he’s on the right track.
Meanwhile, Josh Lindblom was the relief pitcher the Phillies got, and he has completely fallen apart during his time with the team. Lindblom has a 5.40 ERA and he’s given up a ridiculous three home runs to just 58 batters faced. Lindblom has walked 11 batters in just 13.2 innings pitched and when you factor in his so-so numbers with the Dodgers earlier this year, he comes out to be the worst relief pitcher in baseball this season, per FanGraphs. Lindblom has a WAR of -1.0 due to many factors – an unsustainable .250 batting average on balls in play, a ridiculous 1.7 home run rate, a high walk rate at 4.3, and an embarrassingly low 35.2 ground ball rate.
Neither’s future is set in stone with the Phillies – maybe Martin will flop miserably in 2013 and maybe Lindblom will make the next five All-Star teams. But for now, the immediate results show the Phillies hit with Martin and missed with Lindblom.