Today I will be posting three projections, rather than the customary two or yesterday's one. The reasoning behind this is that I will be looking at three guys who are all in the same boat in my mind this year. Jose Martinez, Jedd Gyorko, and Yairo Munoz are all going to be really fighting hard for playing time behind Ozuna, Fowler, O'Neill (who is also on the bench), Matt Carpenter, Paul DeJong, Kolten Wong, and Paul Goldschmidt. I am currently giving the 3 of them (and O'Neill) 415 PA apiece for now. We'll see how the spring goes to see if those projections need to change based on PA allocation.
Jose Martinez is one of the best bats on the Cardinals roster. If he could play any modicum of defense at any position (especially RF at the moment), then he’d be starting and batting second, third, or fifth in the lineup every day. In fact, he hits well enough that if I were the Cardinals, I would have been wishing the DH would have gone through for 2019, because that modicum of defense previously discussed...it’s basically non-existent and that would have given him a spot to play each and every day.
That is why Jose Martinez is being released on this day - a day where three reserves are being projected. Because, while Martinez can play both 1B and RF, he plays it in a way that I, Ben Cerutti, can also stand at both positions in the field. (OK, no, he’s not THAT bad.)
There was a great article at MLB.com about Jose Martinez this offseason and how he does things most mortals cannot with a bat. Here are two nuggets from that article:
Now, my actual projection from him is lower than I thought it might be based on his last couple of years, but you must realize that my projection is drawing on over 4,800 very mediocre minor league plate appearances while taking into account just 915 PA of stellar hitting at the major league level. That’s part of it. Also, part of it is that Martinez was worse last year than in 2017.
In any case, Jose Martinez’s 2019 Projection:
49 runs, 20 doubles, 1 triple, 12 homers, 55 RBI
17.6% K rate, 8.4% BB rate, 4 SB, 2 CS
Let’s immediately compare those to the typical LF, RF, and 1B, the three places Martinez is most likely to play in the field.
Those numbers would compare quite favorably to the two corner outfield spots and truthfully, he’d fit right in at first base despite a slight lack of power for the position. Keep in mind how terrible defensively he was at first base, though. For me, it would take him hitting like 2017 to even play him at first base at all.
How/If things go wrong:
Jose Martinez was 4 points of batting average, 15 points of on base percentage, and 61 points of slugging worse last year than he was in 2017. If he even drops by HALF of those totals again, he’s sitting at .303/.356/.427/.783. That’s pretty close to my projection, but even less slugging. If he drops by that full amount again, we’re looking at a line of .301/.349/.396/.745. That is not good enough for someone who can’t play defense and doesn’t run well either.
What can be pointed out to show that things CAN be better than that?!?
A lot.The two pictures above in regards to the MLB.com article.
The fact that these numbers to the left are his AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS for his actual career by season.
The fact that his actual numbers for his career line are .309/.372/.478/.850 in aggregate.
The fact that he’ll likely be used plenty as a pinch hitter as his role is currently seen by me and coming off the bench as a sub, Martinez has hit .352/.425/.535/.960.
Martinez is a .408/.473/.592/1.065 pinch hitter in his career.
Maybe that’s his best role anyway.