Victor Martinez turned 37 in December, and his 36-year-old self in 2015 didn’t look like the V-Mart we’ve been accustomed to seeing over his long MLB career due to knee injuries.
Martinez slashed .245/.301/.366 with 11 home runs and 64 runs batted in for the Tigers in 120 games last season. While he hit his 200th career home run, he clearly wasn’t the same Martinez that batted .335/.409/.565 the year before with 32 home runs and 103 runs batted in.
So far this spring, V-Mart has two home runs, and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told Michigan Live that Martinez has looked better and stronger so far this season:
“He’s noticeably stronger,” Ausmus said Tuesday. “He really is. And I’m not just talking about hitting. Moving around. Taking ground balls. Getting into the batter’s box. Walking up to the batter’s box. He just looks stronger.”
Even Martinez is feeling the same way:
“I definitely feel a lot better, way better than last year,” he said. “If I have to use the word, yes, I feel stronger than last year.”
Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have Martinez slashing .279/.338/.451 with 18 home runs and 79 runs batted in. It’s clear the projection system likes the veteran Tigers designated hitter.
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