Victor Martinez: Stock ?

In our ridiculously early draft, I picked Victor Martinez in the 10th round. I like the idea of picking up Martinez on the cheap, but I wasn’t exactly sure what his value would be after missing all of 2012. I will attempt to get an idea of his value going into 2013.

To begin with, here are what some current projection systems have in store for the 34-year-old in 2013:

Baseball Forecaster 477 64 14 82 1 0.296 0.360 0.449
Bill James 534 70 16 91 1 0.303 0.369 0.470
CAIRO 417 59 13 69 2 0.292 0.348 0.448
Average 476 64 14 81 1 0.297 0.359 0.456

Surprise surprise, Bill James’ projections love another hitter. That projection is almost the same as the values Martinez put up as a 31-year-old before he missed a year to injury. I don’t see it happening. I would just go with the average values as a starting point.

Another issue with Martinez is his age. I expect him to under-perform his 2013 projections because he is in his mid-30’s. Using a little tool I created, the actual results of players with similar projections can be compared to their Marcel projections. The 2013 Marcels are not yet released, but I went and ran how players similar to his 2012 projection fared (I will add the 2013 data once it becomes available).

Stat Percentage of Time under achieving projection
AB 63%
AVG 83%
OBP 68%
SLG 71%

At least two-thirds of similar players with his projection under-achieved last year. It will probably be worse with his 2013 projections. In general, I have found this trend with projections — younger player will more likely over-achieve their projections and older players under-achieve.

Finally, here are some comparable catchers from 2012: good batting average, 15ish home runs, no stolen bases (Jesus Montero is a stretch):

Name Team PA H HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG MDC Average Position
Carlos Ruiz Phillies 421 121 16 56 68 4 0.325 0.394 0.540 214
Miguel Montero Diamondbacks 573 139 15 65 88 0 0.286 0.391 0.438 71
Jesus Montero Mariners 553 134 15 46 62 0 0.260 0.298 0.386 94

First off, Ruiz is taking a hit because he is supposed to miss 25 games with a suspension. The Montero’s are going anywhere from the 6th to 8th round (12 team draft). Martinez is being picked on average and at 109. The market seems to valuing him correctly as a catcher.

Two keys I think will determine his value. One is health. He is supposed to be ready by playing by the start of spring training. I will believe it when I see it. It was reported after his injury last year that he would return, but he never made it. I would not count on him for a roster position, only as a backup, until he plays a full game or two during spring training.

The second key to his value is the league’s rules on him being catcher-eligible. In Ottoneu, he will start the season as a DH only. Other leagues will have different rules. If he isn’t catcher-eligible, he should be drafted right after similar first basemen. I would take him earlier because there is a chance he make squat down a few times and eventually becomes catcher-eligible. The fewer games it takes for him for him to become catcher eligible, the more value he has. League rules will really will determine his value. I would look at drafting him as a DH when the like of first basemen Ryan Howard, Adam LaRoche and Kendrys Morales come off the board.

I drafted Victor Martinez not knowing exactly where his value stands. After looking back, the 10th round was not a reach and I may have gotten a little value. I would be leery of picking him up in a real draft until he plays some games and his health is less of a concern.

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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first season in Tout Wars, he won the H2H league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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The 10th round in a mixed league seems extremely early to me. There are quite a few catcher-eligibles I like more who were still available.