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Martinez returns from fantasy purgatory

Victor Martinez is healthy now and you are seeing the results.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - He's catching, he's hitting, he's back! He is Cleveland Indians catcher Victor Martinez.

Between 2004 and 2007, Martinez was a fantasy stud at the catching position, averaging .305 with 22 HRs and 99 RBIs. So it was no surprise that his 2008 ADP (Average Draft Position) was 27 and he was the No.1 catcher drafted. Martinez was also the No.1 disappointment in 2008 by playing in just 73 games and hitting two measly homers with 35 RBIs. The explanation of this disaster was simple - he wasn't healthy. An elbow injury took away all his power and left him a shell of the Martinez everyone expected.

He is healthy now and you are seeing the results. Though his Indians are just 5-9, Martinez has played in all 14 games - eight behind the plate and six at first base and he is hitting like the "old" Martinez.

Through Tuesday night's games in which Martinez went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, he is batting .397 with 12 runs scored, five HRs and nine RBIs. His slugging percentage is .707 and his OPS is a slick 1.170.

He's also a huge bargain for those who took a chance on him at Draft Day as I predicted in a January article. Because of his ugly 2008 statistics, Martinez dropped from a third-round pick to around the seventh round (ADP 68). There were likely four catchers selected in front of him in your draft - Brian McCann, Russell Martin, Joe Mauer and Geovany Soto. So far, Martinez is out- performing all of them.

With the exception of last year, Martinez has been a workhorse, playing in at least 141 games and getting a minimum of 520 at-bats from 2004 through 2007. As long as he stays healthy, there is no reason to think he can't keep up this pace.

Top-Five Catchers Selected in 2009

Players Team AB R H HR RBI SB AVE SLG OPS
Victor Martinez CLE 58 12 23 5 9 0 0.397 0.707 1.170
Brain McCann ATL 37 6 7 2 7 1 0.189 0.432 0.772
Russell Martin LAD 46 8 12 0 6 0 0.261 0.326 0.708
Geovany Soto CHC 22 1 3 0 2 0 0.136 0.136 0.457
Joe Mauer* MIN 00 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000
* = placed on Disabled List April 2


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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