keyboard_arrow_uptop

Russell Martin

Born: 02/15/1983 (Age: 31)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 5' 10" Weight: 215
Primary Position: C
Secondary Position:

Evaluator Chris Rodriguez
Report Date 10/17/2014
Present Role 65; first-division catcher, borderline all-star
Years expected to perform at current level 3-4 yrs
Future Role first-division starter; Martin will stick behind home plate for the rest of his career with his skill set, pending health. I see a 3-5 win player until age 35.

Swing Breakdown
Simple, balanced stance; square to the pitcher; slightly crouched; loose hands and wrists before he starts his swing; hands drift back into hitting position on time with a small leg kick; consistently on time getting front foot down; bat comes through the zone on a slightly uppercut plane and with bat speed; two-handed follow through; minimal movement throughout; head stays on the baseball; can sell out for power and jerk his head on occasion but it's rare.
Approach
Very impressive approach; rarely swings at the first pitch; in my sample of 36 at-bats in September, he swung at seven first pitches and all were within the zone; took on the roll of hitting behind Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen, so he tried to become somewhat of a run producer; doesn't give away any at-bats; adjusts to off-speed and breaking balls well; tries to work up the middle most often; doesn't mind a walk in any situation; gears up for a plus fastball; had the green light on a couple 3-0 counts.
Makeup
Good makeup; revitalized his career in Pittsburgh after a strenuous departure from LA and a somewhat disappointing stint in New York; works with the pitching staff very well; plays like he wants to win and he'll do whatever it takes; intense, hard worker; adored by fans in Pittsburgh.
Tool Current Grade Report
Hit 55 Plus hitter; good strength; hand-eye coordination is solid; plenty of bat speed; rarely beat by fastballs in the zone; puts a barrel to any quadrant in the strike zone; always seems to get a pitch to hit in an at-bat; in a 36 at-bat sample, he ended his at-bats with 20 hard hit balls; stays within himself most of the time; battles; definitely has a plan at the plate; you want him up in a big spot.
Power 40 Below-average power; raw power is average; more gap-to-gap type of pop; some leverage; swing isn't made for plus power; line-drive/up-the-middle type of approach keeps some balls in the yard; sells out for power in favorable counts and when facing a pitcher for the second or third time in a game; don't see 20+ home runs again, but 10-15 is still possible.
Baserunning/Speed 40 Clocked 4.4 on most digs; gets down the line well; hampered by hamstring tightness late in the season; no longer a double-digit base stealer like early in his career; can still go first to third; solid baserunner; will likely slow another tick as the years go by.
Glove 70 Well above-average defensive catcher; blocking ability is fantastic; a knack for putting his body in the proper positions to receive the ball; agile and quick on his feet; always on the tips of his toes with runners on base, no matter the speed; can back-pick runners off of first base; framing ability is top notch; consistently gets called strikes on the outer edges of the strike zone to lefties; never takes strikes away from the pitcher; according to Baseball Prospectus, from 2008-2013 he was top four in "framing runs earned" with 91, just behind Jonathan Lucroy, Jose Molina, and Brian McCann; handles the pitching staff well; many attribute the staff's success with Martin; a very good game-caller; doesn't mind heading out to the mound multiple times in an at-bat if it's high leverage; fantastic all-around catcher.
Arm 60 Above-average arm; puts his body in a good position to receive the ball; very quick release helps him deliver the ball to second base with plus accuracy and carry; clocked 1.88, 1.83, and 1.90 pop times respectively; led all of MLB with 37 caught stealing and was fourth with a 38.5 caught stealing percentage.

Batted Ball Percentages
vs LHP vs RHP
GB LD FB GB LD FB
50.91% 30.91% 12.73% 50.20% 23.32% 20.55%

Plate Discipline
vs LHP vs RHP
FA SI SL FA SI CH
Chase % 12% 20.45% 27.91% 23.2% 35.85% 35.16%
Swing / Miss % 15.38% 33.33% 33.33% 8.63% 7.51% 43.44%
*Stats are for the 2014 season

Strengths
Fantastic behind the plate; plus hitter with a great approach at the plate; field general; good game-caller.
Weaknesses
Injuries on his record; limited power and speed; career year offensively, could see a natural decline in offensive production.
Means of Exploitation
Getting ahead with strike one is most important; he's a patient hitter, so forcing him to look to swing is big; vary first pitches; if you go with a fastball first pitch, go changeup or slider with the first pitch in the second at-bat; stay on the outer edges with the fastball as he can turn on one with ease; breaking balls and changeups down in the zone can give him a problem, as well as well located fastballs at the letters and above; be as precise as possible, and if you're going to miss, miss down in the zone with the chance he could ground out.
Overall

Martin put together a career year in his age-31 season, and it's tough to see him get any better. In fact, in all likelihood he'll regress with the bat a little, but still bring extremely valuable defense and invaluable leadership to a team that decides to sign him. If a contending team has a hole behind the plate, and ownership doesn't mind losing a first round pick, I wouldn't hesitate giving Martin three to four years and around $10-12 million a year.


You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
BROTHERZIP
11/03
Good analysis but expect it will take at least 3 years, $45 million to get or keep him, and more than likely more. Paying for that fourth year is the big question.
ErikBFlom
11/04
I don't think that the market recognizes the framing yet. Catchers are not going to get big money for their contributions to pitching until the market recognizes it, not just a team or two that is using it for advantage OVER the market (e.g. free value).
kddean
11/03
Any way we're going to get Transaction Analysis of the Brewers/Toronto trade/
rickyp024
11/03
Cubbies could sure use someone that knows how to frame a pitch like Martin!
kddean
11/04
I guess nothing on the Jays/Brewers trade. Who gives a crap, right?
crodriguez
11/04
Let me ask the guys in charge or the transation analysis. Thanks for your patience.

Baseball Prospectus uses cookies on this website. They help us to understand how you use our website, which allows us to provide an improved browsing experience. Cookies are stored locally on your computer or mobile device and not by BP. To accept cookies continue browsing as normal. You will see this message only once. Privacy Policy

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. See the BP Cookie Policy for more information. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close