Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said that Carlos Martinez will have a “soft cap” on his innings next season if he wins a spot in the rotation. Currently, it’s expected that he’ll battle Marco Gonzales for the fifth starter’s job.
Martinez threw just 99 and two-thirds innings between the majors and minors last year. With St. Louis he started only seven of his 57 games in 2014. He also was primarily a reliever in 2013. While he was almost exclusively a starter in the minors, he has still never thrown more than 108 innings in a season as a pro, so the Cards are taking a better-safe-than-sorry approach.
What that “soft cap” might look like? Well, Mozeliak didn’t say. They’re just going to monitor him for fatigue and give him a lot of rest, one presumes, so they don’t have to pull a Strasburg and shut him down late.
Braves 21-year-old outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. nabbed his 30th stolen base of the season on Friday, becoming the second-youngest player in Major League history to produce at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season. Per MLB Stats, the only other player under 22 years old to pull off the feat is Mike Trout, who did so with 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases during his age-20 season in 2012.
Acuña’s triumphant moment came in the eighth inning of Friday’s game against the Mets. He drew a six-pitch walk against righty reliever Seth Lugo, then waited for an opportune moment as Ozzie Albies stepped to the plate. Lugo fired a 93-m.p.h. fastball to Albies for ball no. 2, which was promptly returned to second base by catcher Wilson Ramos. The throw came in high, however; Amed Rosario had to jump to make the catch, allowing Acuña to slide safely into the bag and hit his career mark.
It’s been an eventful season for the All-Star outfielder, whose 36 home runs and 30 stolen bases helps pad a .294/.377/.536 batting line and 5.1 fWAR over 597 plate appearances. Through the first 11 innings of Friday’s contest, he went 0-for-3 with a pair of walks and a stolen base.