- FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy -

What To Make Of J.D. Martinez

With 3 home runs and a .371 average, J.D. Martinez is one of the big pickups in roto over the past week. The question around Martinez is sustainability. Obviously he won’t hit .371 all season, but can he sustain a solid average in combination with respectable power numbers throughout the year?

I think so. I do not quite think we are going to witness a Jose Bautista coming out party in regards to Martinez, but I do think he can surprise and be a valuable player throughout the year. His walk rate throughout the minors was never too great, but he did post high averages and solid home run totals at most levels.

Last year, combined between double-A and the Majors, Martinez hit .318 with 19 home runs in 596 plate appearances. At 23-years-old, his dominance of double-A was not incredibly impressive, but it does show the type of player he is.

In his 226 plate appearances in the majors, he was able to hit just around league average with a 101 wRC+. He had massive struggles with his walk and strikeout rates compared to his minor league rates, however, but to me that is somewhat of a positive. He was able to perform at a league average rate while having a very poor walk to strikeout rate, so with an improvement in that area he could become more impressive. Nine games is not enough to judge to see if he has improved in these areas, so I won’t bother in posting his current walk or strikeout rates, though they are improved.

ZiPS rest of season has Martinez at a .334 wOBA, which would result in a .344 wOBA for the season. For Martinez’s first full season in the bigs, that’s not too shabby. That wOBA does not even do him justice in fantasy formats either. With a low walk rate of 7.3% expected, much of his on base percentage is revolved around his average. For the rest of the season, ZiPS projects a .284 average, which would result in a .289 total — pretty good in standard formats.

Martinez is likely off of your waiver wire already, and selling high on him is not a terrible option. There may be people in your league that buy into the young player a bit more than you do, and you can receive some value for him since you likely either drafted him late or recently picked him up off of waivers. I think he has the tools in his arsenal to hit for a decent average and power numbers throughout the year, but I do not think he will suddenly blossom into a star. You should have tempered expectations, but I would not look at his solid start to the year as an entirely luck-filled performance.