We are now less than a month away from spring training which means fantasy baseball draft season will be heating up real soon. As you make your preparations and strategize where to target your sleepers, it is critical to consider players who were injured significant in 2012 because they may have fallen off people’s radar. Last week we profiled Dodgers’ outfielder Carl Crawford who is returning from Tommy John surgery. This week, let’s take a look at a player who missed all of 2012 with a knee injury – Victor Martinez. So without further adieu, here is the first installment of the Walking Wounded for the 2013 fantasy baseball season.
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Player Profile: Victor Martinez (C-DET).
It is funny how some things work out because of an unfortunate incident to someone else. A classic baseball analogy would be when Yankees’ third baseman Aaron Boone injured himself after the 2003 season which prompted the Yankees to go acquire Alex Rodriguez. Clearly the results have been a mixed bag with A-Rod, but his acquisition was a direct result of Boone’s injury. After the 2011 season, Tigers’ catcher Victor Martinez also suffered a knee injury leaving a gaping hole in Detroit’s lineup. That is what prompted the Tigers to acquire Prince Fielder who helped lead them to the World Series.
Now Martinez is on schedule to be ready for Opening Day. However, at 34 years old and coming off a serious knee injury, it is highly doubtful he will do much catching for the Tigers this year with Alex Avila and Brayan Pena in the fold. That could inhibit his fantasy value since he will likely only qualify as a DH or utility player if he doesn’t get enough games in the field.
This is not unprecedented as there have been a plethora of players who didn’t qualify at a position during the season. Some recent examples include David Ortiz, Frank Thomas, and Edgar Martinez. But Martinez was an extremely valuable fantasy catcher because of his ability to hit for a high average and drive in runs. The question now is what his value will be solely as a DH or utility player for the time being.
Realistically, his power numbers have been on the decline and playing a majority of his games at Comerica Park limits his power potential. In his first and only healthy season in Detroit in 2011, he hit an astounding .330 and drove in 103 runs. However, he only had 12 homeruns all season. While these numbers would be perfectly acceptable and exemplary for a catcher, it is another story to expect a repeat performance for a DH or utility player.
Most likely your league has a minimum number of games that a player must have played in the previous or current season to qualify at a position. Obviously since Martinez missed all of 2012, he would only qualify as a DH or utility player at draft time. It has been reported that the Tigers would only use Martinez as a third-string emergency catcher behind Avila and Pena. This makes it highly unlikely that Martinez will qualify at catcher again.
That being said, Martinez is someone who will likely be available in the later rounds of most drafts because he doesn’t have a position and people tend to forget about him since he missed all of last year. This is why he could be a real value pick in the later rounds or for less expensive auction dollars. Even without many more than 15 homeruns, Martinez will still hit for a high average and drive in a fair share of runs batting behind the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Depending on when your draft is, keep monitoring his progress during spring training to ensure that his knee holds up and that he will be healthy enough to start the season. Barring any unforeseen setbacks, expect him to be in the Opening Day lineup. If that is the case, don’t hesitate to scoop him up at the right time during your draft.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).
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