Key Stats: Some may ask how do you know which guy will show up. Victor Martinez was the same player he was from 2004-2007 last season. One bad apple out of the bunch and that was an injury plagued Martinez in 2008. He can absolutely be trusted. Martinez averaged 21 HR and 99 RBI for that four year stretch from 2004 – 2007. Last season’s 23 HR and 108 RBI falls right in line with who he is not the 2 HR he had in 2008.
Skeptics Say: Martinez is going higher than 46 in other preseason rankings. The highest ranking in the “what they’re saying” is actually happening from users on Mock Draft Central where he’s being taken 23rd on average. If Martinez lives up to this draft pick he has to have a career best season. Over the past four seasons his highest ranking came last year from Yahoo when he was ranked 58th. In other words, putting him at 46 is assuming that he can build on last year’s success. Catcher inflation is a huge issue since it’s the thinnest position, if Martinez is taken in the top 40 then it’s going to be hard for his owners to get what they pay for. Remember that there are two ways to get burnt by position scarcity – by undervaluing position players and overvaluing position players. Try to be like Goldilocks and wait on Martinez until it’s just right.
Peer Comparison: To illustrate that point on position scarcity with numbers, let’s compare Martinez with Miguel Montero and use strictly their numbers from last season although both should be better in 2010.
Martinez – 88R 23 HR 108 RBI .303 AVG .861 OPS ADP: 23
Montero – 61R 16 HR 59 RBI .294 AVG .832 OPS ADP: 146
Now there’s two choices. Instead of taking Martinez at pick 23, the pick is Justin Upton (ADP 24 on Mock Draft Central). Or the choice could be to make Martinez catcher at pick 23 and Vladimir Guerrero (ADP 140) is the substitute for the Montero pick. Here are the combined numbers from last season.
Guerrero and Martinez – 147R 38 HR 158 RBI 3 SB
Upton and Montero – 145R 42 HR 135 RBI 21 SB
The better choice just purely on numbers is Upton and Montero and that’s not even considering the career trends which also favor Upton and Montero.
Lineup Outlook: Fenway Park is generally considered a hitter’s park, but Martinez is slightly worse off in the Fens over the course of his career. His HR per at bat and OPS are both worse than his career averages. He has only had 152 career at-bats at Fenway, so perhaps it is just a sample size issue. He will likely be hitting inbetween Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis which should do a great deal for both his run scoring and RBI potential.
Projection: Don’t lose site of the fact that there are players like Bengie Molina and Mike Napoli that hit 20 home runs last year too. If Martinez slides to your pick though he is relatively safe for this position.
88 R 25 HR 110 RBI 0 SB .297 AVG .860 OPS
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