21. Chris Martin
Righty reliever Chris Martin is one of the most unlikely elite bullpen arms in baseball. The 33-year-old was drafted in the 21st round out of community college in 2005 but quit the sport after suffering a shoulder injury. He then worked several warehouse jobs around Dallas before beginning to play catch in 2010. That prompted him to try out for independent ball, where he landed a spot with the Grand Prairie AirHogs of the American Association.
Martin pitched well enough in independent ball to catch the eye of the Boston Red Sox, and he pitched in their organization for three years, getting as high as Triple-A, before being traded to the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies, ironically enough, were the team that had originally drafted Martin back in 2005, and they called the reliever up for his MLB debut in early April 2014, but he struggled in 16 games. Colorado flipped Martin to the Yankees in early 2015, where he again struggled. At that point, he decided to try his luck in Japan.
Heading across the Pacific Ocean proved to be the right call for Martin. He pitched well there in 2016 and 2017, earning a chance to return to MLB with the Texas Rangers. Nearly a decade-and-a-half after being drafted, things finally clicked for Martin in 2019. He finished the year with a 3.40 ERA and walked only five hitters in 55.2 innings with 65 strikeouts.
Despite the fact that Martin has only two years of service time, he will be able to test free agency. It has been a wild ride to get to this point, but the 6-foot-8 righty has finally established himself as a big leaguer. His 95-mph power fastball and impeccable command will allow him to fetch a multi-year deal, finally allowing for some much-needed stability.