Reasons Victor Martinez Will Be Starting the 2013 MLB All-Star Game
Playing for the Cleveland Indians, the Boston Red Sox and now for the Detroit Tigers, Martinez has been a key member for each team he has suited up for and proven himself as one of the most feared switch-hitters in the game today.
In 2011, after signing with the Tigers as a free agent, Martinez boasted a career high .330 average, with 12 home runs and 103 RBI's, helping to lead the Tigers to their first ever American League Central Championship and their first division title since 1987 when they won the AL East.
Last January, while working out in the offseason, Martinez tore his ACL was forced to miss the entire 2012 campaign.
Detroit sorely missed Martinez's production last season, struggling mightily from the plate and almost failed to reach the playoffs.
But after over a year of rest and rehabilitation, Martinez is ready to return to the Tigers' lineup and pick up where he left off in 2011.
Here are the four reasons Martinez will be representing the AL as a starter in the 2013 All-Star Game:
Martinez has been a star most of his career.
Over his nine-plus year career, when he's been healthy, the switch-hitter has gotten it done season-in and season-out.
Martinez has averaged at least .278 every year of his career, has at least 20 home runs in five of his last eight seasons to go along with at least 100 RBI's in four of the last eight years.
He has a career batting average over .300 from both sides of the plate and has proven to be a solid power hitter as both a right-handed and left-handed hitter.
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of Martinez's game is the way he performs with runners in scoring position. In 2011, Martinez hit .394 with RISP and had an OBP of .442
When it matter the most, Martinez will come through more often than not.
Martinez has amassed 143 home runs and 741 RBI's in 1,149 career games and has constantly bounced back from injuries to be a consistent presence for each of the three teams he's played with.
Plenty of Rest
Last September, rumors began to swirl that Martinez was close to returning from his ACL injury to be able to come back and help the Tigers with their 2012 postseason run.
But Martinez and the organization ultimately decided he was unable to return, and the Tigers shelved the 34-year-old until 2013.
Because he wasn't hurried back, Martinez got an extra four-plus months of rest and rehab for his knee, and will have all of Spring Training to get the kinks out from missing an entire season.
He won't have to return in a pennant race when the Tigers can't afford to lose. Martinez will have some wiggle room to get his timing back, and everything else it takes to be a successful, consistent hitter in the major leagues.
Talent Around Him
It's a lot easier to earn RBI's if the players in front of you are constantly on base.
When he's been healthy for a full season, Martinez has proven to be an RBI machine, driving in 741 runs over 1,149 games, but he hasn't been around the amount of talent that the Tigers will boast in 2013.
With Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder batting ahead of him in the Tigers' lineup this season, Martinez will have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs.
The four players in front of Martinez, who all have the opportunity to join Martinez at the All-Star game, each averaged at least .300 last season and will be on base more often than not in 2013 for Martinez to drive in.
Martinez earned over 100 RBI's in three of the four seasons that he was selected as an All-Star, none of those teams he played on gave him the opportunity to succeed like this year's Tigers squad.
With the firepower in front of him, Martinez should have no problem getting to 100-plus RBI's.
After recovering from a devastating ACL injury, the last thing Martinez needs to is to return behind the plate, doing damage to his knees as a part-time catcher.
Luckily for Martinez, he won't be asked to do anything defensively for the Tigers this season.
Martinez has caught 853 career games, but as he's gotten older, he's transferred primarily to a designated hitter. In 2013, he'll likely spend all season at DH.
In his last two seasons, Martinez has spent more time at catcher, getting 517 at-bats, compared to 439 as DH, but he's performed better as a DH.
When he didn't need to worry about defense, Martinez boasted a .330 average, with a .383 on-base percentage, 12 home runs and 90 RBI's. As a catcher in his last two years, Martinez averaged .300 with a .356 OBP, 20 home runs and 87 RBI's in almost 80 more at-bats.
He's been much more effective when he only needs to focus on offense, and after returning from a whole year off, he'll greatly benefit from being a one-way player.
Instead of playing defense after his at-bats this season, he'll be able to watch more film and get more swings in the batting cages while the Tigers are in the field.