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Pedro Martinez: Red Sox have ‘amazing’ pitching talent in farm system

02.26.14 at 5:49 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The 2013 season was a revelation for Pedro Martinez.

It wasn’t just that a Red Sox organization that had hit its low point in 2012 rebounded to claim a title, though Martinez — who arrived in Fort Myers and was in uniform during and after Wednesday’s workout — said he took considerable pleasure in that turnaround. Still, in his fourth season away from the game, the retired three-time Cy Young winner — named a special assistant to Red Sox GM Ben Cherington at the start of 2013 — discovered how much he enjoyed the opportunity to offer counsel to pitchers.

That was particularly true of the minor leaguers with whom Martinez worked. In his stops at various minor league affiliates, he found a wealth of talented players who were and are eager to learn. Martinez loved offering the players feedback and to influence their development positively, and he hopes to spend more time with Sox prospects this coming year.

“I want to be more involved with the players,” said Martinez. “Because when you get the results that I got when talking to [Drake] Britton, [Rubby] De La Rosa, [Brandon] Workman, all those kids, [Allen Webster], you feel like a proud father and you want to be around your sons. I was just going blind, trying to touch in some places, but now I know that my influence can help a lot of those kids. I’d love to do it. I’d love to do it and spend more time with them this year.

“I think I have so much to offer, stuff that I’€™m not going to put into use anymore,” he added. “I might as well pass it along. I’€™m trying to do that. I’€™m trying to get involved more in baseball and more with the young players and the veteran players. Whoever needs me. I would just love to pass everything I know, all my knowledge, all of my experience to some of those guys and hopefully get some good results out of every one of them.”

Martinez marveled at the depth of talent in the Red Sox system, at a time when the team features a number of pitching prospects in the upper levels. He described the pitching talent as “a lot more than I was used to seeing . . . A good collection of big guys, big guys, strong guys, hard-throwers. Amazing. And so young, so talented.”

In addition to Britton, whom Martinez said he viewed as having major league-ready stuff in spring training, the former Red Sox ace also cited Anthony Ranaudo as a pitcher who, based on stuff, looked ready to pitch in the big leagues last year. Ranaudo did not reach the majors — partly because he was not on the 40-man roster, partly because he pitched more than 100 more innings in 2013 than he did in an injury-marred 2012 campaign.

“I thought Ranaudo was going to get a chance [to pitch in the big leagues],” said Martinez. “When I saw him I saw a guy that was completely different because of the history, with his arm problems. I think he was delayed a little bit more just to be cautious because that was the first full year he was pitching in a few. [Henry] Owens, he’€™s a natural. He’€™s a natural. I think it’€™s just a matter of keeping them healthy and before you know it they’€™re going to be up. Those guys are full of talent. I was really impressed with the material we have in the minor leagues.”

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