Batting Fifth: Designated Hitter Victor Martinez
Once an All-star and Silver Slugger, Victor Martinez is in the twilight of his career. The 39-year old Detroit Tigers star has declined sharply in the last few seasons. He’s been plagued with heart problems. Other players are producing more than he is.
Last year, he had a negative WAR. It was -0.6. That’s not good.
But he’s in the last year of his contract. He will more than likely retire after the season, and possibly even during. Martinez won’t be sent down because of what he’s done for the team. He won’t get benched, despite there being younger players with higher production on the team.
Though he’ll play, there’s no way he can reach his career .298 average, or even his average 21 home runs.
He hit .255/.324/.697 last season. It was down from .289/.351/.826 a season before. But while that was up from the season before, the same thing won’t happen.
Your body can’t do as much as you age. it’s more difficult to play, and the 162-game season takes its toll. The same can be said about Martinez.
It’ll be a surprise if he is anywhere near his 2016 production. He’s projected to hit .255/.319/.721, with 15 home runs and 59 RBIs. It’s slightly better than last year. It’s still not his career average.
What he can do, however, is take young sluggers under his wing, and give them pointers, helping them reach the next level.