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2017 Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: Kyle Martin wraps up the top-20

The voting is over, and Kyle Martin takes the last spot.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The process started way back on January 27, when we were still begging for pitchers and catchers to report. It’s now April, and while I’m supposed to get a wintry mix today (I don’t want to talk about it) it’s no longer winter. The Red Sox are 1-0 in the regular season, and our top-20 prospect list is complete. Taking the 20th and final spot was Kyle Martin.

The big righty was Boston’s ninth round pick back in 2013 as a college senior reliever out of Texas A&M. He was previously drafted in the late rounds by the White Sox and Nationals as a high schooler and college junior, though he declined to sign both times. Once in the Red Sox organization, Martin was kept to the bullpen and started his pro career in Lowell. After ten dominant outings with the Spinners he was able to finish the 2013 in Greenville’s bullpen where he posted a 2.12 ERA, albeit with less impressive peripherals than he had in Lowell. Still, it was an encouraging pro debut and he was rewarded by starting 2014 in Salem. He’d spend the entire year there, throwing 80 innings and striking out more than a batter per frame with just 16 walks. He did have some problems with the long ball which contributed to his 4.02 ERA. He continued moving up the ladder in 2015, starting the year in Portland and once again playing most of the year there. I say most not because he was promoted, but rather that he had a stint on the disabled list and had some rehab appearances in the Gulf Coast League. The control wasn’t as good as it was in High-A, but he showed off even more strikeout stuff in Double-A. He finished off the year with seven strikeouts and one walk in six innings at the Arizona Fall League.

This was good enough to, once again, move him up a level heading into the next season. Martin would start 2016 in Triple-A Pawtucket and spend the entire year there. Despite the lack of a promotion, it was the year Martin found himself fully on the map. In 66 23 innings of work, he struck out 10.5 batters per nine innings — just slightly higher than his rate at Double-A — while walking just 2.8 per nine. Despite allowing a .329 batting average on balls in play, he still posted a solid ERA of 3.38. Even better, Martin pitched to a 3.02 FIP and a 2.52 DRA.

Like many bullpen arms, Boston’s big reliever features a solid fastball. He’s not Aroldis Chapman or anything, but he can dial it up to 96-97 mph when he’s really dealing and generally sits in the mid-90’s. To go along with that fastball, Martin features a changeup that flashes plus at times and is his best offering. It has everything you want in a changeup. His arm speed is just about the same as his fastball. The ball darts down sharply. It’s 10-15 mph slower than his fastball. It’s dynamite. Still, you don’t see many fastball/changeup success stories out of the bullpen, so he’s trying to develop his slider. It needs some work, but if he can get it to even an average pitch Martin can do real damage at the major-league level.

Prior to this season, Martin was protected from the Rule 5 draft and thus finds himself on Boston’s 40-man roster. Despite that status, he was not able to take the final bullpen slot that instead went to Ben Taylor. Instead, he’ll start the year in Triple-A. It’s something of a setback for Martin, but he still has a good shot at getting his chance in the majors this year, and he has the stuff to make the most of it.

And there we have it. As we’ve talked about all winter, the farm system is weaker than it’s been in years past. Still, there are some exciting prospects in the top-20. Here is the entire list, and with the minor-league season kicking off Thursday we won’t have to wait long before seeing them in action.

  1. Andrew Benintendi
  2. Rafael Devers
  3. Jason Groome
  4. Sam Travis
  5. Bobby Dalbec
  6. Brian Johnson
  7. Marco Hernandez
  8. Roniel Raudes
  9. Michael Chavis
  10. C.J. Chatham
  11. Josh Ockimey
  12. Nick Longhi
  13. Travis Lakins
  14. Mike Shawaryn
  15. Jake Cosart
  16. Jalen Beeks
  17. Trey Ball
  18. Luis Ysla
  19. Shaun Anderson
  20. Kyle Martin