Thursday, December 16, 2010

Russell Martin: A Fantasy 2011 Season?

Eric Karabell over at thinks Martin might be a good pickup...for a fantasy baseball player, that is:

I think Martin can be relevant for fantasy owners as soon as 2011. I doubt he will be asked to assume regular duty for the Yankees, a team with myriad options, and that's a positive. Jorge Posada should be the team's primary designated hitter, but catching remains an option for him. Francisco Cervelli brings defensive skills and hit .271 over 266 at-bats in 2010, and should play more than typical backups. And the minor league system features a pair of top catching prospects in Jesus Montero and Austin Romine, though I suspect one of them will be used as trade bait. The point is, fantasy owners shouldn't expect, or even yearn for, the days where Martin played 150 games behind the plate. He can resurrect his career with a mere 400 at-bats because he remains fast for a catcher and works the strike zone well. The Yankees could also use Martin as a backup at third base, which could get him a few extra at-bats.

Martin drew 90 walks in 2008, and despite struggles the past two seasons, he posted an on-base percentage roughly 100 points better than his batting average. Players that take walks aren't guaranteed to hit for average, but on-base skills generally help. Those in OPS leagues should take note. Martin joins a deep lineup, so even if he bats eighth or ninth, there should be RBI opportunities and the likelihood of more runs scored than in previous seasons. I wouldn't expect a return to 15 or more home runs, or a .290 batting average, or even 20 stolen bases, but Martin can provide enough in these categories to be a usable fantasy backstop, not far below the top-10 options at the position.

Leaving Los Angeles for the American League shouldn't be overrated; Martin never showed extreme home/road splits in the first place, and as a right-handed hitter, the Yankee Stadium dimensions don't suit him as well as they would lefty pull hitters. I just can't buy the notion he's done as a contributor at such a young age.

I could see 110 games behind the plate, 10 home runs, a .280 batting average and 10 stolen bases, which means he could threaten for top-10 status soon.

Russell only played 97 games last year, and now he'll be splitting time with Posada--so I'm taking the under on the 110-game threshold in 2011. And as for Karabell's top 10 catchers: one of them is the Indians' Carlos Santana, who never would have been discarded by the Dodgers if Martin's precipitous decline had been foreseen.



Neeebs (The Original) said...

Uh oh! He brought up the dreaded CS hindsight debacle.

Head for the hills.

Steve Sax said...

CS hindsight may be 20/20, and CS himself might someday be 40/10, but last year he was only 6/3.

Josh S. said...

I heard Ned didn't want to trade Santana, but teams bribed him with his favorite food, Vietnamese noodle soup.

Yes, he was offered pho to shop CS.

Pistol Pete Reiser said...

I listen to Eric Karabell's now-roughly-weekly podcast with Seth Everett - he's so damned East Coast/Phillies-centric it's infuriating - Everett saves the show (and has better stories). It's not surprising J Mart has to be signed by the Yankees to get Karabell to even pay attention to J Mart and/or the Dodgers at all.

Anyway, threw my name in the hat to get a photo-op with the Grand Oyster Pube Cup at work. No sooner than doing so, I hear they're shipping this train-wreck around the country... one stop (the last) is in my old hometown, Troy, NY.

If you were to combine all the rust-best cities and towns of the old Industrial Revolution northeast into one human body, I'll let you guess which orifice Troy is closest to. Coincidentally, it's also the home of the Chuckers franchise, back in the days when Satan himself was so offended by their stench he cast them from the inner rings of Hell, to land in Troy. Like herpes.

But it's great in the summertime.

So anyway, if you're nearby any of the pit-stops (anatomical pun intended) in the link below, wear your blue and confuse/irritate the Chuckers with your presence.

Apologies in advance for not making this a link, I'm still a newb to blogging.

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

BDHA: Beating Dead Horse Alert

Pistol Pete Reiser said...

Which topic, J Mart leaving or my wordy response? Or both?

Steve Sax said...

@mr la sc: did I mention that I would love Beltre to return?

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

@PPR - I was responding to the mention of CS.

rbnlaw said...

TAKE THAT you damn, dirty, dead horse!!

(nice alliteration, if I do say so myself)

Just read in the Times about global warming leading to the crossbreeding of several Arctic species.

Can the sharktopus be far away?

Josh S. said...

I can't wait for the Polar OxBearwolf.

And for Dr. Octagon to rap about it.

Fred's Brim said...

Josh, you have a bad case of moosebumps

Fred's Brim said...

@PPR - Troy's not all bad - take credit for the mini hot dogs!