Five Numbers That Sum Up The Season OPS+ Games Caught Aug-Sep ISO BAbip HR/AB 132
Five Numbers That Sum Up The Season
Games Caught Aug-Sep
What It All Means
The Tigers identified a need for the dreaded over-used term professional hitter after the 2010 season, and went out and signed Martinez to a four-year deal to fill that role. Regardless of what that term may mean, it's hard to imagine the Tigers hoping for any more than what they got out of Martinez, who was one of the top hitters in baseball with a .330 average and an OPS+ of 132. It's easy to identify where Martinez shined, but there were also some chinks in the armor. Due to injury issues, Martinez caught just one game over the final two months of the season, which forced Avila to catch nearly every single day. There were also signs of slowly decreasing power from Martinez, as a career .17 ISO hitter posted just a .14 ISO, and while he came into the year averaging a home run every 28 at-bats, he managed one every once out of 45 at-bats in 2011. It all comes together to highlight a still very productive hitter, but one that is increasingly relying on batting average to carry his production.
What Does the Future Hold
The Tigers have already made it clear that they plan to sign a backup catcher and will limit Martinez's time to a full-time designated hitter role, with maybe the occasional appearance at first base. There's no reason to believe Martinez won't continue to hit at a very high level when it comes to being a contact hitter going for a high average, however, more of his power hits are more likely to go for doubles now than home runs and we could see a similar path taken to that of Magglio Ordonez as he aged through his mid-30's. So long as he remains a productive hitter though, the Tigers will be happy to keep him in the lineup every day.
Entering the second year of a four-year deal signed last off-season for $50 million. He will be owed $13 million in 2012 and unlike many other contracts the Tigers have signed in recent years, this one was not back loaded and is spread almost evenly throughout the length of the deal.