Monday, October 31, 2011

Gr8: #6 Victor Martinez, Professional Hitter

The “Great Eight of 2011” will be a look at the eight Tigers that impressed me the most in 2011. The order I am choosing these players in is not necessarily who the best overall player was. No, these guys are simply the ones that made me say “wow” more than anyone for whatever reason.

.159/.292/.277, 11 HR, 42 RBI, 177 K, $12 million
.330/.380/.470, 12 HR, 103 RBI, 51 K, $12 million

The top stat line is that of Adam Dunn in 2011. The bottom is Victor Martinez. In the 2010 offseason, these men were the two that Dave Dombrowski was reportedly considering signing to be the DH of the 2011 Tigers. Chicago went with Dunn. Detroit went with V-Mart.

I think it’s safe to say that the Tigers came out on top there. Kind of like Alabama would if they played a random junior high football team.

Victor Martinez is a guy that I always respected and feared when he played with the Indians (and later Boston for a bit). He’s one of those automatic .300 hitters with occasional pop. But it wasn’t until I got to watch the man play baseball every day this year that I really understood what an amazing hitter the dude is. The phrase “professional hitter” is a tired cliché, I think. Technically, Brandon Inge is a professional hitter. But the true meaning of the term, if one were to look it up in a fictional baseball dictionary, would be accompanied by a picture of Victor. The man’s just that damn good.

.337 against righties. .311 against lefties. .326 at home. .333 on the road. .316 in the first half. .345 in the second half. .394 with runners in scoring position. .375 with two outs and runners in scoring position. .345 against Chicago. .382 against Cleveland. .389 against the Twins.

I guess what I’m trying to say is Victor Martinez is really, really fucking good. What Don Kelly ISN’T to hitting a baseball, V-Mart IS.

The man provided the protection to Miguel Cabrera in the lineup that Big Mig has needed since his debut in Detroit. Walking Cabrera isn’t the easy option that it was in the past because Victor will make the other team pay, more often than not. Even when hurt, he still punishes the baseball and has that “The only way I won’t play is if I wake up dead” attitude that you can’t help but get behind.

And sorry, Paws. Little Victor is now the most popular mascot in Tigertown nowadays. The kid’s adorable and can hit better than most of the Tigers’ bench. We got to see future star Prince Fielder run around Tiger Stadium as a youngster. I can’t help but feel a bit of déjà vu with Mini Vic.

I can’t imagine where our season would have ended up if Adam Dunn would have been Detroit’s free agent DH signing instead of Martinez. In fact, the mere thought of it makes me want to ingest a fifth of Bacardi in three gulps. But Victor Martinez is a Tiger and will be through 2014. That’s a comforting feeling to have in regards to our offense.

When you add in what a fantastic leader he is, what a wonderful teammate Martinez is said to be, and his contagious positive attitude…it’s all icing on the cake.

Thank you Dave Dombrowski for shopping smart. For shopping V-Mart.

Boomstick, bitches.


David Tokarz said...

We still would have made the playoffs with Dunn, but I doubt we would have beat the Yankees.

Jay Hathaway said...

Victor is definitely the guy we needed this year for leadership.  I made it no secret that I thought when we let Damon go, we were opening up a void in that department, but Victor has filled the role beyond expectation.  I was glad we didn't get Dunn from the get-go.  He is a caveman.

Jay Hathaway said...

Come to think of it, if you're bored in the offseason, perhaps a blog-skit starring Dunn and Bonderman would fill the time, being that they are both, well, a bit Neanderthalish.

H2OPoloPunk said...

Don't hate on cavemans. I've seen Captain Caveman swing a pretty mighty bat.

Jay Hathaway said...

 I would bat Captain Caveman cleanup any day.