RJ Martinez makes pro debut with Winnipeg Goldeneyes
Left-hander RJ Martinez recently wrapped up not only a successful 2021 season, but also a very decorated collegiate career with the Minot State Beavers. This past season, Martinez started 10 games for the Beavers, where he owned a 2.31 ERA across 66.1 innings pitched and piled up 88 strikeouts.
The success Martinez had with the Beavers baseball program reflected not only on an individual level, but on an all-time level as well. His 88 strikeouts in 2021 are the most in a single season for the Beavers program and he twice set the single game strikeout record this year.
Additionally, he has the most career strikeouts (220) and most innings pitched (195) for Minot State, and he is second all-time in career wins with 14. With having so much success at the collegiate level, it seemed like an opportunity for RJ Martinez to extend his baseball career was on the horizon.
That opportunity came to fruition when it was announced that Martinez would sign to play professionally with the Winnipeg Goldeneyes of the American Association of Professional Baseball, an MLB Partner League.
In 2006, the American Association would find itself in the prominence of independent baseball as the league was founded and since then, expanded to its current form, which consists of 12 teams.
With the recent reorganization of minor league affiliates across baseball, the American Association of Professional Baseball became an MLB Partner League in 2020. These leagues have no direct affiliation with MLB teams, however, they are partnered with the common goal of promoting the sport across North America.
The Winnipeg Goldeneyes have been a part of the American Association of Professional Baseball since 2011 and in that timeframe, they’ve put together a successful existence. They have three division championships (2011, 2014, 2017) and three league championships (2012, 2016, 2017) since joining the league.
Being a Partner League of MLB, this presents players with an opportunity to play professionally as they look to reach their goal of becoming an MLB player. For RJ Martinez, he had the quick transition of officially signing with the team to making his Goldeneyes debut not long after.
On Thursday, Martinez started for the Goldeneyes and went for six innings, while allowing one run (zero earned runs) on three hits, two walks, and three strikeouts. He threw 84 pitches with 52 of them being strikes and his performance gave him the win, as the Winnipeg Goldeneyes topped the Sioux Falls Canaries 10-1.
This is an exciting opportunity for RJ Martinez and if his debut is any indication of how well he can perform at this level, then the Goldeneyes should be thrilled with the latest addition to their pitching staff.
The Goldeneyes season will run through Sept. 5. Games can be streamed online through American Association Baseball TV with a subscription, or through online radio platforms with a subscription.