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The Beat Goes On For Veteran Slugger Victor Martinez

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
While V-Mart has had more than his share of serious and nagging injuries throughout his career, he continues to put up great numbers late in his career
Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports

After last season many thought that the career of Victor Martinez was very close to being over, and that the Detroit Tigers made a big mistake in signing him through the 2018 season. While yes, a four year $68 million dollar contract is indeed excessive for a player 35+ year old player, Martinez has continued to make it worth it early on this season. The Tigers gave him the contract after he hit .335 with a career high 32 homeruns while driving in 103 in 2014, and if he had continued to do that nobody would be doubting him. After he landed the big deal, Martinez had yet another year of nagging knee problems, and many people began to question him. The slugger was limited to just 120 games in 2015, in which he managed to hit a meager .245 with 11 homeruns and 64 RBI. If Martinez were a younger player, a season like that might not worry anybody too much, but due to the fact that he is an aging veteran who had just landed a big deal the red flags went up for a lot of people. Thus far in 2016, while the Tigers have struggled V-Mart has quietly returned to his old ways. In his age 37 season, Martinez is hitting .344 with 13 doubles, nine homeruns, and 34 RBI, far outperforming his teammate Justin Upton who is making almost $5 million more than he is. Martinez ranks third in the major leagues in batting average, 18th in on-base percentage, 15th in slugging percentage, and 12th in OPS. 

The Detroit Tigers have two of the best hitters this generation of baseball has seen
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Victor Martinez may not be a player who's plaque we see in the Hall of Fame one day, but he is without a doubt one of the elite hitters of his generation. Martinez has done nothing but give every team he has been on consistent play, leadership, and a looming presence in the on-deck circle. He now holds a career batting average of .303, has slugged 209 homeruns, driven in 1,025, roped 377 doubles, and collected 1,842 hits. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Martinez is how hard it is to strike him out; in 6,077 career at bats Martinez has struck out only 710 times and never more than 78 in one season. Don't think that sounds impressive? Mike Trout, one of today's biggest stars, has struck out 696 times in 2,650 at bats. Justin Upton has struck out 1,260 times in 4,525 at bats. Chris Davis, a perennial homerun king contestant, has struck out 1,161 times in 3,320 at bats. Giancarlo Stanton? 905 in 2,735. The list goes on and on and on, and just goes to show how good of a hitter Victor Martinez truly is. People may not realize it, but V-Mart could be one of the best hitters the game will ever see. He may not be going up there and launching 45 homeruns every year, or stealing 40, or hitting .370, but he might just be the smartest hitter we will see for a very long time. 


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