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Blue Jays mid-term report card: Grade Russell Martin’s first half

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

I thought, since we’ve made it past the half way point of the Blue Jays season, we should do Blue Jays mid-term reports cards.

Let’s start with Russell Martin.

Russell is having a tough season with the bat. His ability to make contact and hit with power has totally disappeared. He is hitting .172/.326/.286 with 6 home runs, 40 walks and 56 strikeouts. To add to the fun, he’s been caught stealing twice.

I don’t know what’s going on. His strikeout rate is virtually the same as last year. His hard contact rate is actually up a tiny bit, but then his soft contact rate is up a lot (23.5% up from 16.4), but I’m sure you figured that out by watching.

His defense has been fine. His arm seems to have lost a little something. He’s thrown out 23% of base stealers, which is a little better than the last couple of season. But even if the percentage is better, some teams have been taking advantage of him (the Nationals stole 8 bases in 2 games).

He’s played a bit of third and a few innings at short and left field. I think he’s been ok in those spots. I don’t think it is a bad idea for him to show he can be a utility player, but when you are making $20 million a year, you really should be a regular at your given position. Of course, with the number of relievers teams carry these days, I want everyone to play more than one position. For what it is worth he hasn’t made an error in the 59 innings he’s played in positions other than catcher.

I think that’s a change we are going to see in baseball, more players playing ‘out of position’ in the future. We even saw Kendrys Morales at third base for an inning. Players often fool around during fielding practice, lining up a different position just to have a bit of fun. I’m sure managers are watching them do this a bit more carefully.

I’d love to see Danny Jansen get some major league time this year. Normally a catcher goes down with injury at some point, but Martin and Maile have stayed healthy this year. I think it would be good for Jansen to be on the team with Martin, and learn from him. It would be good to trade Maile (or Martin, but that won’t happen with his contract) to make room for Jansen. I doubt there is much of a market for backup catchers.

He is making a ton of money, but that’s not his fault. I’m sure Alex knew he was overpaying, but Alex really wanted him. I wonder if GMs think “This contract is going to look really bad in the last couple of seasons, but I’m likely to be gone by then anyway.”


For the first half, I’d give Russell Martin an

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