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Monday, April 25, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: RUSSELL MARTIN C TORONTO BLUE JAYS

When it comes to aging catchers in fantasy baseball who have been able to hit during their careers, there is always a chance for a complete fall off the statistical cliff from one year to the next as this player enters his mid-30's.  With all of the wear and tear and injuries associated with the position, catchers can vanish as key contributors just like that.  While it is still early in the season, we could be seeing such a scenario developing with Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin.  After Martin signed a very rich four-year free agent deal with the Blue Jays, he still was considered a shaky investment entering into the 2015 season due to his age.  However Martin took full advantage of the offensive leanings of Rogers Center as he hit a career-best 23 home runs, scored 76 runs, and drove in 77 batters.  While the .240 average was ugly, Martin reminded many that he could still be a solid fantasy baseball catcher given his home ballpark and protection in the potent Blue Jays lineup.  Well at the age of 33 and with a crazy amount of mileage on his body as a major leaguer, we are seeing nothing but ugliness all around for Martin this season as he went into Saturday's games with a .146 average (not a misprint), 0 home runs, and a 3 in both the runs and RBI column.  Martin has been epically bad and there are even some whispers about whether he should be playing as much as he is given how putrid his bat has been.  What quickly stands out is that Martin is striking out in 40!!!!! percent of his at-bats after he was at 20.9 percent a year ago. No doubt Martin won't continue striking out as such a crazy rate but this could be an indication he is struggling to catch up to fastballs which again would not be a total surprise given his age.  Also a .259 BABIP is pretty unlucky for sure but Martin's walk rate has shot down to just 7.3 percent which is nasty by his standards.  Either way Martin has been as bad a hitter as one could be this season and he already is showing up on various league waiver wires which one can understand.  Right now I would bench Martin in all formats and I certainly would not try to buy low.  Catchers at Martin's age just don't hold up with their numbers and we could very well be seeing him approach the end of the line as an offensive player. 
 

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