Few players get an invitation to Major League Spring Training knowing they have absolutely no chance to break camp with the Big League team, but 21 year old lefty Sean Gilmartin fits that bill. After the team selected him 28th overall in last June's amateur draft, the invitation was a formality of his contract, often extended to college players selected in the first round. Still, it will be a great learning experience for the young pitcher, who can listen and learn from much more experienced players until Minor League camp starts in the middle of March.
After his college season at Florida State, where he had a 12-2 record, a 2.09 ERA, and a 130 strikeouts in 120.1 innings, Gilmartin took a bit of time off before signing, then began his pro career with a one game tuneup in the GCL, where he allowed 2 runs in 2 innings. He moved up to Low A Rome where he made 5 starts, earning a 2-1 record, while posting a 2.53 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP, and 30 strikeouts in 21.1 innings. After the season he pitched for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League, where he put up a 2-1 record, a 4.34 ERA, and a 1.21 WHIP in 29 innings over 8 games (7 starts).
Gilmartin's best pitch is his outstanding changeup, which he utilizes with above average command. His fastball is only average, sitting around 90 mph with solid, if unspectacular, movement, and his slider needs work, though both pitches are effective due to his control. He stands at a solid, powerful, 6'2", 195 pounds, allowing him to be durable, though there isn't much of any room in his body for projection. Overall, Gilmartin is highly reminiscent of Mike Minor, another college lefty the team plucked in the first round, and there's a good chance that, like Minor, Gilmartin's stuff will improve a bit with professional coaching and training. The Braves will likely push Gilmartin like they pushed Minor, so expect to see him start 2012 in AA Mississippi's rotation.