Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Why Victor Martinez needs to step up


Together, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder formed the deadliest 3-4 punch in all of baseball. A triple crown winner batting third, followed by Prince Fielder, one of the best sluggers in the game. With Fielder protecting Cabrera in the cleanup spot, Cabrera was rarely intentionally walked, however, this year, the immobile Cabrera could be walked too many times unless Victor Martinez steps up.

Before Fielder arrived in Detroit, Cabrera was intentionally walked a whopping 32 times, since then in his two years with Detroit, he limited Cabreras IBB to an average of 18 times. Fielder hit 25 homes runs, compared to the 14 Martinez hit. Fielder also hit more RBI and scored more runs than Martinez in 2013.

Unless Martinez can step up to the benchmark Prince Fielder has set, pitchers will issue Cabrera walk, after walk, after walk. In the approaching season, Martinez will have to raise his game, and provide some much needed protection for the reigning MVP champion. If Martinez can indeed up his game, and hit around 25 home runs and 100 RBI watch for the Tigers to thrive with another deadly 3-4 punch in the middle of Detroit’s lineup.

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  • Josie Parnell

    Last season Martinez was coming off missing the entire 2012 season, so his numbers are a bit skewed for the worse due to a long, bad, slow start. His 2nd half split numbers are much more indicative of the type of hitter Martinez really is. And while VMart won’t hit as many homers as Prince, he’s a better all around hitter.

    If you look at Cabrera’s 2011 numbers, with Martinez hitting behind him in the order, Miggy was only walked intentionally three more times than he was last season hitting in front of Prince(19 in 2013 and 22 in 2011).

    Also, you called Miguel immobile, which was absolutely the case at the end of season and in the playoffs last year, but is definitely not true as of now. He looks to have recovered really well from his core repair surgery, and while he’ll never be a speed demon on the base paths, he’s fully able to move around, jump, strectch and run.

    Just sayin’!

  • Timmy Kennedy

    @josieparnell:disqus good points. But still, regardless, if Martinez doesn’t step up and become a big time hitter this season, the Tigers will struggle.

    • Josie Parnell

      Victor Martinez is the definition of a big time hitter. He struggled in the first half of last season as I said, but he took off and hit .361/.413/.500 after the All Star break and he’s a career .303/.369/.464 hitter. Sure, he has to perform up to his ability, but he’s proven time and again that he can do that. And, again, Cabrera had a pretty darn good season in 2011, winning the batting title batting in front of Martinez.

      So basically, yes, he needs to perform but there’s no reason for me to think that he won’t. It’s what he’s done his whole career.