Russell Martin
Russell Martin
37-Year-Old CatcherC
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2020 Fantasy Outlook
The veteran catcher made his return to Los Angeles in 2019 but was unsurprisingly unable to recapture the magic of his early career, posting a .220/.337/.330 slash line with six home runs in 83 games. Martin's 12.0 BB% and defensive abilities kept him in the mix throughout the season, but prospect Will Smith was promoted for good in July and provided an immediate boost to the offense. Martin is set to enter his age-37 season as a free agent and seems destined to again serve as a team's backup catcher, assuming he wants to continue his career. Regardless, Martin should be past the point of fantasy relevance, barring a spectacular resurgence. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
$Signed a five-year, $82 million contract with the Blue Jays in November of 2014. Traded to the Dodgers in January of 2019.
Drawing first start of NLDS
CLos Angeles Dodgers  
October 4, 2019
Martin will start Game 3 of the NLDS on Sunday against the Nationals, Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports.
ANALYSIS
Martin will catch Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 3 with the series tied 1-1. Ryu has posted a sparkling 1.52 ERA when Martin is behind the dish, per Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register, but that comes with a tradeoff offensively -- according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News, the veteran backstop is just 3-for-22 with a double, an RBI and four strikeouts against Max Scherzer, who will toe the rubber for the Nats.
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Batting Stats
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2019
2018
2017
2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2018
 
 
+10%
OPS vs LHP
2020
No Stats
2019
 
 
+17%
OPS vs LHP
2018
 
 
+4%
OPS vs LHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2018vs Left .711 154 18 5 10 1 .220 .357 .354
Since 2018vs Right .649 447 48 11 35 0 .199 .331 .318
2020vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019vs Left .748 66 12 3 5 1 .218 .348 .400
2019vs Right .639 183 17 3 15 0 .221 .333 .305
2018vs Left .683 88 6 2 5 0 .222 .364 .319
2018vs Right .657 264 31 8 20 0 .184 .330 .327
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2018
 
 
+17%
OPS on Road
2020
No Stats
2019
 
 
+5%
OPS at Home
2018
 
 
+36%
OPS on Road
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2018Home .614 300 31 6 22 0 .191 .323 .291
Since 2018Away .717 301 35 10 23 1 .219 .352 .364
2020Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Home .685 124 14 2 13 0 .245 .355 .330
2019Away .650 125 15 4 7 1 .194 .320 .330
2018Home .563 176 17 4 9 0 .152 .301 .262
2018Away .764 176 20 6 16 0 .236 .375 .389
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Batted Ball Stats
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Russell Martin
The Z Files: Winning Tendencies, Part Four
165 days ago
Todd Zola continues his breakdown of last year's NFBC Main Event rosters and explains why he thinks Christian Yelich showed up on so few league-winning squads.
All-Time Toronto Blue Jays Draft
175 days ago
Jose Bautista was the first outfielder taken in our All-Time Blue Jays draft. Who went first overall?
The Z Files: Is Average Exit Velocity on Groundballs Useful?
279 days ago
Todd Zola dives into the weeds on how the average exit velocity on groundballs impacts BABIP while also looking at other factors, such as the elite sprint speed of players like Trea Turner.
Collette Calls: 2020 AL West Bold Predictions
303 days ago
Jason Collette kicks off his annual Bold Predictions series with a pair of predictions for each of the five teams in the American League West.
Games Played By Position: 2020 Eligibility Notes
October 16, 2019
Clay Link looks at appearances by position and makes note of multi-position eligibility and lost eligibility for 2020.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
Last season, Martin played at least one game at catcher, third base, shortstop and left field, and was a player-manager on the final day of the season. He made 21 appearances at third base, so he has dual eligibility for the first time in his career. He was dealt to the Dodgers in January, and figures to split time behind the plate with Austin Barnes. Martin has barely been above 350 plate appearances the past few years after multiple seasons over the 475 mark. He is in full age decline as his batting average has declined each of the past five seasons from a high point of .290 down to .194 last season. The walk rate and contact rate have held up, but the quality of contact has not. Catcher is so shallow that Martin remains a mixed-league consideration in two-catcher formats, but in the endgame.
On a per-game basis, Martin's age-34 campaign looked very similar to the one before it, as he was on a pace to approach 20 homers if he had been able to stay healthy for another 130-game workload. Nerve inflammation in his shoulder cost Martin a couple weeks in May, and the problem seemed to resurface in June before an oblique injury put him back on the DL in August. As the injuries piled up, Martin's production tailed off and he hit .198/.276/.360 in the second half after posting a more typical .235/.378/.403 line in the first half. Considering his age, the Blue Jays are unlikely to put a full starter's workload on Martin's shoulders at this stage of his career, so it's reasonable to expect 110-115 games if he's able to avoid the nagging ailments that caused him to play less than he has in any of his 12 big-league seasons to date in 2017.
Martin had a brutal start to the season, hitting .150 over 60 at-bats in April. He was even worse in the final month, posting a .148 average in 81 at-bats. However, in the four months sandwiched between, Martin hit .295 with 16 home runs and 67 RBI. Overall, the catcher tallied similar numbers to what he had the previous year, although Martin's power dipped a bit in 2016. Most alarming about the veteran's recent campaign is the career-high 27.7 percent strikeout rate -- up from 20.9 percent in 2015 and up more than 10 percentage points from his career 17.4 percent mark. This could be a sign that Martin's bat speed is declining. Father Time is certainly chasing down Martin, but there doesn't appear to be another catcher in the organization ready to challenge him for the spot. He's only in the third year of a five-year, $82 million contract, putting him in position for another busy year at age-34 in 2017.
Martin's return to his native Canada was a success, as he topped 20 home runs for the first time in five years and posted his best run and RBI totals since his time with the Dodgers. Martin couldn't repeat his .290 average from 2014, but his power showed up in a big way in righty-friendly Rogers Centre, as Martin's .458 slugging percentage was his highest since 2007. Martin is a .257 career hitter, but he has topped .250 just once since 2010 and his days as a hitter for average are probably over. Selling out for power is often worth it at Rogers Centre, where Martin will ply his trade for the next four seasons and where he hit .243/.331/.477 with 13 of his 23 home runs in 2015. He should have loads of run and RBI chances once again in that scary Toronto lineup.
With free agency looming, Martin picked a pretty good time to slash .290/.402/.430 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI. He also threw out 39 percent of baserunners (37 of 96), setting himself up for a monster payday, which he received from Toronto (five years, $82 million). Since pitch-framing isn't a category, the catcher's fantasy value doesn't reflect his true baseball value. Considering that Martin hadn't hit higher than .250 since 2007 before last season, there's reason to expect a downturn to his overall numbers in 2015. Throw into the mix that he started 106 games behind the plate in 2014, his second-lowest figure in nine seasons. Martin will be out to prove that 2014 wasn't a fluke, but fantasy owners may want to temper their enthusiasm for a 32-year-old catcher with a history of knee and shoulder problems.
Martin is an ultimate gamer, a catcher who refuses to sit at the detriment of his offensive numbers. The free-agent pickup batted .255/.357/.410 with 11 homers, 55 RBI and nine stolen bases through Aug. 15. A chronic knee injury caught up to him, however, and his numbers dropped off the table thereafter -- he hit .138/.234/.275 in 109 at-bats, with just one unsuccessful stolen base attempt. Martin finished with a .226 batting average and has hit a combined .225 over the last three seasons. Mostly likely, that trend will continue in 2014, as will his ability to hit double-digit homers and steal close to 10 bases.
Martin spent much of 2012 under the Mendoza line, but came on a bit toward the end of the season, going 28 for his last 98 (.286), and putting up 10 of his career-high 21 homers over that span. The Yankees were interested in re-signing Martin, as prospect Austin Romine was injured for much of 2012, and Gary Sanchez is at least a couple of years away. Instead of returning to New York, he opted to sign a two-year deal with Pittsburgh. Martin's full-season numbers may scare away owners at the draft table, and given the improvement he showed toward the end of 2012, he's still a viable starter in NL-only and deeper mixed formats.
Martin got off to a strong start in 2011, hitting .292 in April and making the All-Star team, but he struggled for much of the balance of the season, and ended up the year hitting just .237 while his contact rate quietly slipped for the third straight season. The 18 homers Martin put up look decent for a catcher, but six of those were in April and it would be a mistake to count on that kind of production in 2012.  Martin does still have a good eye at the plate, and eight steals are helpful from a catcher, but there are many stronger options available behind the plate and repeating his numbers from last season is likely a best-case scenario.
Martin has gone from an elite catcher in 2007 to a very good in 2008 to a mediocre option the past two seasons. On the plus side, Martin's plate discipline remains solid (BB/PA rates of 11.8 and 12.4 percent the past two seasons), but the power has vanished. After homering once every 28.4 at-bats in 2007, Martin has regressed to 42.5, 72.1, and 66.2 the past three seasons. He signed a one-year deal with the Yankees in December to be their primary backstop, but keep in mind he's still going to play all of 2011 as a 28-year-old coming back from hip and knee surgeries.
Martin batted a disappointing .250/.352/.329 in 2009, the second consecutive season his OPS has experienced a drop-off. Compared to 2007, Martin's home runs dropped from 19 to seven and his stolen bases have fallen from 21 to 11. Martin appeared in 12 fewer games last year than in 2008, so perhaps it's a combination of overuse and lack of conditioning. Still, he's just 27 and should probably be considered a top-10 catcher heading into 2010.
Once again among the leaders in catcher at-bats, Martin batted .280/.385/.396 with 18 stolen bases in his third full season. His power output was down (from 19 homers and 32 doubles in 2007 to 13 and 25 last season), with the fact that just three of the 13 homers came after the All-Star break giving more ammo to those who think Martin needs a few more days off. Continue to consider him a top-five catcher in 2009 and expect a few more days off and/or starts at third base in order to keep him fresh for the season's second half.
Martin quickly became a fan favorite in 2006, and stepped up to become a fantasy superstar. He's arguably baseball's most valuable fantasy catcher (considering his age) after a 2007 in which Martin hit 19 homers and stole 21 bases. No other catcher had more than seven steals and Martin's 87 RBI ranked second in the NL to Brian McCann. At age 25 and with perhaps an improved Dodgers lineup, Martin could be even better in 2008.
Martin played Wally Pipp to Dioner Navarro's Lou Gehrig, as he stepped in for the injured Navarro in May and never looked back. Long thought of as the team's catcher of the future, the future came a bit sooner than expected, as Martin solidified his hold on the position, probably for the forseeable future. At the plate, he is a fundamentally sound mix of plate discipline and developing power. Seasons of .300/.400/.480 could be in his future and with the fantasy catcher list tending to thin quickly, Martin is already one of the best.
Many scouts and officials in the Dodgers' organization view Martin as the best catching prospect in the system, ahead of even Dioner Navarro. Martin's defensive skills are widely acclaimed and he has a nice patient approach at the plate. He still needs to grow into his power, but there's some potential there as well. Martin could reach the majors by midseason, or when Sandy Alomar Jr. has his first DL trip.
More Fantasy News
Cranks clutch home run
CLos Angeles Dodgers  
September 4, 2019
Martin went 1-for-2 with a three-run home run and a walk in a victory over the Rockies on Tuesday.
ANALYSIS
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Cranks fifth long ball
CLos Angeles Dodgers  
September 2, 2019
Martin went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in a win over Arizona on Sunday.
ANALYSIS
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Back from bereavement list
CLos Angeles Dodgers  
August 27, 2019
Martin was activated from the bereavement list Tuesday, J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
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Back Tuesday, starting Wednesday
CLos Angeles Dodgers  
Personal
August 26, 2019
Martin will be reinstated from the bereavement list Tuesday and is expected to start Wednesday against the Padres, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Likely to return in three days
CLos Angeles Dodgers  
Personal
August 24, 2019
Martin (personal) is expected to rejoin the Dodgers on Tuesday, Alanna Rizzo of Spectrum SportsNet LA reports.
ANALYSIS
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