After Wednesday’s victory over the Blue Jays, Alex Rodriguez is batting .287/.360/.503 with nine home runs. The once washed-up, no-power, surgically repaired Russell Martin is hitting .266/.370/.504 with nine home runs. Russell Martin has gotten off to a better start (albeit slightly) than A-Rod. How did this happen? Can he keep it up?
The quick answer is probably not. Martin’s AVG and OBP are most certainly sustainable. He has a career .272 AVG and .365 OBP. Those numbers are right where we want them to be. The outlier is the SLG. Martin is hitting for some serious power, astounding power when you consider that he has a career .403 SLG. This suggests that as the season progresses Martin’s hits will keep up at the same pace, but fewer of them will find the seats. The question then becomes, how large will the tail off be?
On the off chance Martin does keep up his current power surge, then 2011 would far and away be the best season of his career. Prior to this year, Martin’s best season was 2007. That year he hit 19 home runs with a stat line of .293/.374/.469, good for a 116 OPS+ and a .368 wOBA. Currently he has a 140 OPS+ and a .392 wOBA. If the 2007 that the then-24-year-old Martin put up is his season-long ceiling, he’s due for a correction, but not a complete end in production.
Martin may be benefitting from a one-size-fits-all approach that opposing teams are taking against the Yankee hitters. In his post on Wednesday, fellow Yankee Analyst William J. shows data that suggest the Yankees are seeing more and more off-speed pitches this season than in seasons past. That’s the only way you’re going to get out Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira, but its the exact wrong approach to take with Martin.
Unusual for a big leaguer, Martin is actually negative against fastballs this year, by quite a bit. According to Fangraphs (excluding Wednesday’s game) Martin has been worth -4.2 runs already this season against the fastball. Against the slider, cutter and curveball, however — pitches Larry might call Yankee-kryptonite (Editor’s Note: Particularly if they are thrown by a southpaw) — Martin is raking. He’s already worth 2.2 runs against the cutter and the curve, and 0.7 runs against the slider. These are impressive totals for such an early part of the season, particularly for Martin. Prior to this season, 2008 was the only year he was above average against the cutter. That year he was worth 1.2 runs against the pitch … all season.
This suggests to me that teams aren’t thinking of Martin when they strategize about how to beat the Yankees. Instead, they’re assuming the Mark Teixeira approach works against him as well, and he’s punishing teams for it. The data back this up. He’s seen only 54.2% fastballs this season, down from 57.9% for his career.
The oddity is that this is the first season Martin has ever been good against the slow stuff and bad against the fastball. For his career he has been worth 32 runs against the fastball, and has been negative against the slider and cutter and just about neutral against the changeup and the curveball. This is a big reason why the data suggest his performance will tail off. A lousy slider or cutter is pretty much a meat-ball fastball. If Martin is pounding those two pitches, but struggling against the fastball, it suggests his bat is slower than it seems. If teams make the adjustment against Martin, they will find it easier to get him out. For all our sakes, let’s hope the opposition keeps on focusing on Robinson Cano and Tex.
Russell Martin is already one of my favorite Yankees right now. I love the way he handles himself on the field. He’s a solid defensive catcher, who swings a great bat, and just looks tough as nails out there. I know he speaks French, but don’t mess with him! He’s also been one of the biggest surprises of the season so far. While I believe his power will begin to wane as the season progresses, I don’t believe he’ll end the year with an SLG much below .460. No matter how you slice the numbers, Martin has been one of Brian Cashman’s best signings and one of this season’s most pleasant surprises.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- walkfit platinum reviews on The TYA staff on the Yankees’ television and radio broadcast teams
- essentialtexting.com on Open Thread | Game 3 | Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees | Sunday, April 3, 2011
- www25.tok2.com on Sabermetrics Doesn’t Have A Monopoly on Not-Stupid: Mike Trout is the AL MVP
- グッチ 財布 on Sunday Links-Joba’s Timetable, Comparing eras, Pineda
- raspberry ketone diet 1200 on Sabermetrics Doesn’t Have A Monopoly on Not-Stupid: Mike Trout is the AL MVP
- Free riot codes on Off-Topic
- Fran on The Great Subway Race
- sleeping bag hand Orientation on What about Austin Romine?
- camping stove heat diffuser on What about Austin Romine?
- 手機殼 on The Yankees’ Standing In The AL East Right Now
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees