In 2007, Russell Martin won a silver slugger and was generally considered one of the best catchers in the game. Since then, it has been a long steady fall from grace. Martin was plagued with MCL injuries last season, only playing in 97 games, which helped continue his streak of declining production:
The most intriguing aspect of Martin’s game was that he was a five-tool player at the catcher position. He showed the potential for a 20/20 season back in ’07 and that was enough to earn the favor of the fantasy baseball crowd.
In 2007 and 2008, Martin spent most of his time hitting out of the third and sixth spots in the order. When he batted third, he accumulated the majority of his offensive stats. This makes sense because in that spot he would have been surrounded by the better hitters in the lineup.
By 2009, Joe Torre had Martin spending most of his games hitting out of the sixth and seventh spots in the lineup and as you can see, his stats declined precipitously. As I mentioned earlier, while Martin was injured much of 2010, when he did play he spent half of his games hitting between the seventh and ninth spots in a lineup that wasn’t scaring anyone, finishing 21st in runs scored.
Assuming Martin hits ninth this year for the Yankees, the difference will be that he’ll have a hitter the caliber of Jorge Posada in front of him and instead of a pitcher hitting behind him, it will be Derek Jeter; little bit of a different world when you are hitting in the Yankees lineup.
With the pressure off of him, his knee healed and the big bats surrounding him, expect a bounce-back year for Russell Martin.
2011 Fantasy Forecast: 50 R, 15 HR, 55 RBI, 10 SB, .265 AVG.