Rafael Martín

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Rafael Martin Romero

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Rafael Martin was a month shy of his 31st birthday and a veteran of nine professional seasons when he made his major league debut with the Washington Nationals in a game against the Boston Red Sox on April 15, 2015. He pitched two scoreless innings in a 10-5 win, allowing only one hit while striking out five.

Although born in the United States, Martin took an unusual route to the majors, signing his first professional contract with the Saraperos de Saltillo in the Mexican League when he was already 23 in 2007, having worked in construction for four years before that. He pitched three seasons as a reliever for Saltillo before signing with the Nationals organization before the 2010 season. He started off with a full season in the AA Eastern League with the Harrisburg Senators that year (5-4, 3.61 in 47 games), then after being injured at the start of 2011, put together an outstanding campaign between the Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League and Harrisburg, combining for a record of 5-1, 1.65 and 13 saves in 38 games. It looked like he would make his way to the Show quickly, but injuries intervened.

In 2012, he missed some playing time, but when he was able to pitch, he was ineffective, ending up a combined 1-0, 6.69 in 30 games. His only win that year came in a rehabilitation assignment with the GCL Nationals, while the rest of the season he struggled with Harrisburg and the AAA Syracuse Chiefs. In 2013, it was almost back to square one, as he was limited to 21 games, most of them back in Class A with Potomac. However, he pitched very well there, saving his career, as his ERA was 1.04 in 17 games and he gave up only 12 hits in 26 innings while striking out 33. In 2014, he climbed from Potomac to Harrisburg to Syracuse, combining for a record 3-2, 1.39 and 11 saves, including an outstanding 0.80 ERA and 10 saves in 25 appearances in the International League. He started 2015 in Syracuse, pitching once before he got the long-awaited call to Washington. Though he posted a 5.11 ERA during his first big league stay, he struck out 25 batters in 12 1/3 innings -- or more than two per inning, on average.

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