And another 10mil+ to a pitcher we've never seen pitch. (Koruda)
And another 10mil+ to a pitcher we've never seen pitch. (Koruda)
ESPN has been having chats with their experts comparing two similar players. Beckett Vs. Peavy, Santana Vs. Sabathia, etc. Today they did our very own Russell Martin and Minnesota's Joe Mauer.
The case for Mauer
He is 24 years old, and is a lifetime .313 hitter. He also has more walks (208) than strikeouts (183) in his career, which is sensational for a player his age. In 2006, he became the second catcher ever to lead his league in hitting (.347), and the first catcher ever to lead the major leagues in hitting.
"His swing is perfect," one scout said. "He'll be a great hitter for years to come."
Mauer is an above-average receiver who has thrown out 44.7 percent (a fabulous percentage) of potential base stealers over the last two years. And, he is a tremendous athlete, which allows him to make adjustments, and makes him a good runner for a catcher -- he has 29 steals in 34 tries in his career. The only downside is that he hasn't been as durable as a catcher needs to be. He got hurt his rookie year in 2004, and last season he was limited to 109 games.
The case for Martin
Over the last two years, he has been out-hit by Mauer, .324-.288, but Martin has more home runs (29-20), more RBIs (152-144) and more steals (31-15). Plus, Martin has been amazingly durable, playing 262 games to Mauer's 211. Several years ago, soon after Martin was moved from third base to catcher, one instructor in the Dodger minor league system suggested in an organizational meeting that Martin was the best player in the Dodgers' system. The remark was greeted with great surprise. "You watch," the instructor said.
Martin can hit, and his defense is equally good. "He catches and throws as well as anyone in the game," said former Dodgers third base coach Rich Donnelly. Plus, he runs a game very well, and is very vocal with pitchers, which is what leaders do.
Martin plays with a fire that few players have these days. "If he was a boxer, the guy in the other corner would look across at him and say, 'Oh, no, not him,'" Donnelly said. "Before every game, in his catching gear, he runs the length of the dugout. He is so ready. I've never seen him have an off-day. He might go 0-for-4, but mentally, he never has an off night."Ulises (Managua, Nicaragua): Tim, I think both are excellent hitters, question would be who can handle a pitching staff better and have a healthy chemistry with pitchers and players...
SportsNation Tim Kurkjian: I think they're both really good at that, but if I had to choose one, I would take Martin. There is a story that has been disputed that Martin went to the mound to visit Brad Penny, and told him 'I am not leaving here until you calm down'. True or not, it shows the leadership capabilities that Martin has. Mauer has the same capabilities, but again, I'd take Martin.Jim (Woodland Hills, CA): I realize that Martin is young and has proven durable thus far in his career, but don't you think Torre should give him more days off this year?
SportsNation Tim Kurkjian: I'm a big believer in not overworking your catcher at any age. I would think Joe Torre, being a former catcher, will give Martin a few more days off this year. He surely will resist almost every time Torre goes to him, but for the good of himself and for the team, he's got to cut back his workload slightly with each yearBH, Los Angeles: Tim, from where you sit, should Russell take on more of leadership role on the club and in the clubhouse since he has played with most of the younger players in the minors and as an All-Star, should have enough cred with the vets?
SportsNation Tim Kurkjian: I think he's shown some leadership skills already, but you;re right, he'll need to show even more. Even though he's a young guy, there are certainly younger and less experienced guys on his team that he can help. There is a pretty good gap between some of the veterans on that team and some of the young guys as far as age and experience. It's always helpful when a younger guy who has been around for a few years steps forward. Martin is the logical guy to do that.Brendan (Baldwinsville, New York): Would you agree that Martin resembles Jason Varitek in some ways?
SportsNation Tim Kurkjian: I think he's got some Varitek in him when it comes to strength and toughness and leadership, but with all due respect to Varitek, Martin is a better athlete and has greater potential long-term. Someone in the Dodgers system told me that someday, Martin will be one of the best catchers of all time. I said 'Of all time?' and he said, 'Yes, of all time'.Matt (Boulder, CO): Martin has improved his stats both years up in the bigs. What is a reasonable prediction for the type of numbers he can put up this season?
SportsNation Tim Kurkjian: I would think he is capable of 25 homers, a hundred RBIs, and a .300 average. Those would all be improvements over last year, but when you start looking at catchers who are .300-25-100 guys, that's a pretty short list. That's how good this guy can be, because every person I've talked to about him says essentially the same thing...the fire that burns inside this guy is a little hotter than in most players.Chris:Winston-Salem: Martin & Mauer are both great athletes...Is there any chance that either could play another infield postion, aside from first base?
SportsNation Tim Kurkjian: I think either one could play third base if they had to, especially now that they're young. Martin came through the system as a third baseman, and Mauer's hands are so good, I think he could play there as well. But again, when you get this kind of production from a catcher, you keep him where he is for as long as you can. It's a lot easier to find a third baseman that can hit than a catcher who can hit.Ricardo( Curitiba, Brasil): Tim, who will be the face of the Dodgers? Kemp, Kershaw, Loney or Martin?
SportsNation Tim Kurkjian: My guess is that it will be Martin. The other guys, especially Kemp, have very high ceilings, but Martin is past them already in production, maturity, and majorly, experience. Plus, the catcher of the team often has the chance to become the face of the team since he's so involved in the running of every game.
Thanks ASU. That story about Martin calling out Penny is awesome.
Between Martin and Kemp that is why I am a Dodger fan again.
Wasn't the "I'm not leaving the mound until you calm down..." with Derek Lowe?
"He knows I can get emotional on the mound. Two starts ago he came out and said, 'I'm not leaving the mound until you calm down.' That shows you the leadership that he brings to the team. I was very fortunate to have Jason Varitek, and that's how he was. They're very similar in that way as far as they can take over a game. He understands individuals. He understood in the Anaheim game that I was upset, and said I'm not leaving until you calm down. And that's a veteran move for a guy with probably 23 or 24 games (in the bigs)."
Mattingly out, Mike Easler in as hitting coach. Donnie Baseball to be a special assignment coach, cites "family reasons" for the change. Guess we won't have to get used to the bizarre image of Matts in a Dodgers uniform.
so mattingly steped down as hitting coach? oh welll