Victor's Power Outage

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Victor's Power Outage
Every year, my oldest brother, my father and I play in the same fantasy baseball league. It's a nice tradition that is littered with trash talking, desperate complaints, and sarcastic remarks about our teams. Somehow, the fourth round in our draft this year was filled with players who are having extremely disappointing seasons so far. Justin Verlander. Eric Byrnes. Troy Tulowitzki. Travis Hafner. Derek Jeter.

But perhaps the most disappointing of the whole bunch is Victor Martinez, who my brother selected with his 4th pick. He recently sent me this message: "btw - all ur complaining about ur team and u dont have this issue... victor martinez."

It's true, I do complain a lot about my team-- I'm the guy who drafted Verlander and traded for Hafner. But my brother raises a good point.

As a catcher last year, Victor Martinez hit 25 home runs, 114 RBI and finished 7th in the MVP voting. He's one of the few catchers that typically posts big power numbers as he's hit 84 home runs the past 4 seasons. Everyone going into this year was high on the Cleveland catcher. His average draft pick this year was 35.1 and my brother drafted him 37th. A safe pick, really.

Well, Victor Martinez has yet to hit a home run this season. This is the same guy who hit those 25 dingers last year, only the 6th catcher to do so since 2000. He's played in 54 games this year and with 198 at bats, he still hasn't figured out a way to send the ball over the fence.

Since 2000, 143 players have taken more than 54 games to hit their first home run of the season. Only one of them had hit at least 25 home runs in the previous season and that guy just got fired by the Yankees-- Morgan Ensberg. In 2003, Morgan Ensberg hit exactly 25 home runs for the Houston Astros. In the following season, it took him 65 games and 205 at bats before he hit a home run. He finished with 10 home runs.

But what's most painful for my brother is that Victor is a catcher. To find a consistent power-hitting catcher (remember Mike Piazza and the old Ivan Rodriguez?) is extremely rare and worthy an early pick in fantasy baseball. But no power-hitting catcher has had this rough of a start in modern history. The last time someone was even close was in 1990 when Pat Borders hit 15 home runs and then played 50 games behind the plate in 1991 before he hit his first round-tripper. But that was just a 15 home run campaign.

For my brother, I guess it's good to know that SOMEONE has had this bad of a drought before except I doubt Morgan Ensberg was a top-40 fantasy pick in 2004. But... I can't say much since I'm currently ranked five spots behind him in the league standings.

Touche.

--UPDATE--

Victor Martinez was just placed on the 15-day DL.

From Rotoworld:

Indians placed C Victor Martinez on the 15-day disabled list. Martinez is dealing with inflammation in his right elbow. Indians manager Eric Wedge has revealed that he has been dealing with the troublesome elbow all season, which could help explain the power outage. It's unknown just how serious the injury is, but the Indians team page suggests that surgery is an option. We'll update as we know more.

Hey Rotoworld, next time you use the term "power outage" referring to Victor Martinez, you have to cite my title!
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