Acquired for Kolby Allard back in 2019, Chris Martin came into 2020 wanting revenge for a season that ended abruptly in the playoffs, and to say he succeeded would be an understatement. Martin was acquired last year for the playoff push and was a massive part to help put together what would end up being an absolutely elite Braves bullpen. Lets take a look at what he did well in 2020, and what the outlook for Chris is for the upcoming 2021 season.
What went right in 2020?
Much like a majority of the Braves roster - 2020 was a revelation for Chris Martin. Acquired to be an absolutely dominant option out of the bullpen Chris put together a fantastic season in a fantastic year for the Atlanta Braves. Chris appeared in 19 games where he went 1-1, with 1 save where he struck out 10 hitters per nine, had a walk rate of 1.50 BB/9, and an ERA right at 1.00. Even crazier, Chris had a strand rate of 84.9% despite seeing his groundball rate drop to 39%. He was a bit lucky, as can be seen by his .171 BABIP, but even his advanced statistics paint a pretty sure with Chris registering a 2.36 FIP, and 3.24 xFIP with an average exit velocity of 89.5 MPH.
Chris also appeared in eight games in the playoffs where he registered a 2.25 ERA and was a little less dominating with a 6.75 K/9, and 2.25 BB/9. All together you have a dominant season and one that Chris looks to build on in 2021.
What went wrong in 2020?
Chris had a bit of an injury scare near the end of the season, much like 2019, when he injured his groin but unlike 2019 Chris didn’t miss a beat and was ready to go for the playoffs. Outside of that, not much at all went poorly for Chris in 2020. Chris was put in various situations throughout the season and pitched well in seemingly all of them. If you wanted to nitpick he was barreled at the highest rate of his career (9.5%) in 2020 but really, that’s trying to find something bad. In just 18 games Chris was able to put up a 0.5 fWAR, which for reference, is above Pete Alonso’s 0.4 fWAR 2020 campaign.
Outlook for 2021?
What is fantastic for the Braves isn’t necessarily a great thing for Chris. Already 34, Chris is under team control until the 2024 season and while he should see a jump in salary ($7,000,00) entering his first year of arbitration - it likely won’t come close to what relievers his age get at this stage of his career. That being said Chris will play a major role in how the Braves perform in 2021.