The Dream Continues For Saint Peter's Grad Santo Maertz
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
BATAVIA, NY - Former Saint Peter's College pitcher Santo Maertz began his second professional baseball season this past weekend.
After spending his first season at the rookie league level, Maertz was recently promoted to the St. Louis Cardinals minor league affiliate in Batavia, NY. In Batavia's season opener against Auburn this past Friday night, Maertz pitched one inning in relief - striking out two in the Muckdogs 6-1 victory over the Doubledays.
Maertz took his recent promotion in stride. "In the minors everyone's good. Whoever works the hardest are going to be the ones that move up." After his combined college and professional seasons ended last fall, Maertz spent the winter working with a personal trainer at home in New Jersey - following a program created for him by the Cardinals staff. His hard work paid off, as the Cardinals decided to promote Maertz instead of sending him back to his previous assignment.
The Batavia Muckdogs are a member of the New York-Penn League, a league which also includes the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees. Unfortunately, the 2009 schedule does not have the Muckdogs playing either team in New York City. Maertz's closest games to Saint Peter's Jersey City campus will be July 14-16, when the Muckdogs travel to Dutchess County, NY to play the Hudson Valley Renegades.
After graduating from Saint Peter's with a degree in business management, Maertz was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 44th round of the 2008 First-Year Major League Baseball Player Draft. "I loved playing baseball at Saint Peter's," Maertz reflected. "A lot of kids take things for granted in college, and you never know what's going to happen." Maertz was surprised as anyone when the phone rang last summer and the Cardinals informed him that they had drafted him. He packed his bags, headed south, and began his professional career assigned to the Cardinals' affiliate in Johnson City, Tennessee.
With an entire college baseball season at Saint Peter's just completed, Maertz's professional playing time was deliberately limited by the Cardinals. Despite the limitation, Maertz wasted no time making an impact. In the JC Cardinals second game of the 2008 season on June 18th, he pitched 1-2/3 innings of no-hit shutout ball and also recorded his first professional strikeout. Exactly one week later he earned his first professional victory, striking out two in a perfect inning of relief. After being used to playing every pitch of every game in his baseball career, Maertz found himself in a new situation - learning to come in from the bullpen and pitch short situational stints. "I was a starting pitcher at Saint Peter's, so I had to learn how to warm up and get all of my pitches working as quickly as I could. Once I'm in the game, I need to throw strikes right away and use all of my pitches".
Maertz finished the 2008 season with 25 strikeouts and walked only 13 in 20 innings pitched. His efforts tied him for the team lead in wins with four, and he did not suffer a loss in the 17 games he pitched. Johnson City finished the season six games over .500, good enough for second place in the West Division of the Appalachian League.
Maertz has advice for those that aspire to follow in his footsteps: "Make sure you put your time in, doing the little things that will help make you better. Take it upon yourself to be dedicated to baseball, nobody else can do it for you. And since you don't know how long it's going to last, enjoy every minute of it and have fun doing it."