#MLBPlayers411 | Carlos Martínez

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Today's #MLBPlayers411 subject, Carlos Martínez, is on his way to his second-career All-Star Game in 2017. The St. Louis Cardinals ace might not have the most glamorous record at 6-7, but his 111.1 innings pitched and 124 strikeouts are both in the top-eight among starters across the majors and his 3.15 ERA is second on the Cards.

“I'm really thankful and really happy to be given the opportunity to go to the All-Star Game, especially (because of) the fans and everyone who voted for me and the Cardinals, who are giving me a chance right now to play every day,” Martinez said.

Someone else who is also happy to see Carlos head back to the All-Star Game is someone Carlos says is like a Dad to him – battery-mate, catcher Yadier Molina.

“Carlos deserves it,” Molina said. “He's been pitching good for us. I'm looking forward to that time over there with him and I'll enjoy it. (Carlos) is getting more mature. He's preparing himself better. He's locating his pitches way better than he did back in the day. Right now, he's a pitcher.”

Back in the day, as Yadi is referring to, Carlos was primarily a reliever for the first two seasons of his big-league career.  Despite coming out of the bullpen, Carlos was often compared to ace and fellow Dominican Pedro Martínez.

Carlos got his professional baseball start by signing with the Cardinals as an international free agent in 2010. After three seasons in the minors, Carlos debuted for the Cardinals on May 3, 2013 against the Milwaukee Brewers. He cracked the starting rotation at the start of the 2015 season, and after going 10–3 with a 2.52 ERA in the season's first-half, Carlos made his first All-Star team. He went on to finish the season with a 14–7 record and a 3.01 ERA in 179.2 innings pitched. Carlos finished in the top ten in the National League in ERA, won–loss percentage, strikeouts per nine innings, wins and home runs per nine innings allowed. His 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings pitched was the third-highest single-season average in franchise history.

Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Carlos' family didn't have much and baseball wasn't the only thing on Carlos' plate. He actually studied to become a priest for four years. In an effort to give back to children who face similar situations as he did as a child, Carlos founded the Tsunami Waves Foundation.

“Listen, I had no one to give me a grain of rice or a pair of shoes to go to school or give me spikes to play baseball,” Carlos said in part of MLB.com's Me In Real Life series. “A bat, a glove, whatever. I never had that. So, I created my Tsunami Waves Foundation to help out those in need.”

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