Joan Martinez struck out nine of the first 14 batters he faced this season.
Hitters haven’t had much more success since, either.
Through 13 appearances spanning 25 2/3 innings for Salem, Martinez has gone 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA while averaging 14 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Just as importantly, he’s cut his walk rate from 6.4 per nine innings last season to 3.2 this year.
The success has moved him inside MLB.com’s top 30 Boston prospects, to No. 27.
Martinez touches 99 mph with his fastball, which he backs up with a hard slider and a splitter.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic for a mere $5,000 in 2016, the 22-year-old right-hander spent the end of May and the beginning of June on the disabled list. He rehabbed briefly at rookie-level Lowell before returning to Salem on June 21. He promptly picked up a pair of victories in relief last week.
The Sox have adjusted their start times for next week’s home games to make parking easier for baseball fans during the Salem Fair.
The Sox host games on five days that coincide with the fair, which opens Wednesday and runs through July 14. Salem opens a three-game series with Down East on Thursday, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 p.m.
The Friday and Saturday (July 6) games also will begin at 3:05. Given that the fair opens at 4 p.m. nightly, this gives fans first dibs on the limited parking at the Salem Civic Center.
The July 7 game against Wilmington will have its usual Sunday start time of 2:05 p.m.
On July 8, the Sox and Blue Rocks play a separate-admission doubleheader at 11:05 a.m. and 6:05 p.m.