Friday, I wrote that Fernando Martinez was not ready to help the Mets. Monday’s disaster in LA doesn’t really change that, but lets take a closer look at Martinez’s season thus far, splitting the 18 games he’s played in May from an identical number from May. By the way, these numbers do not include Martinez’s two homeruns Tuesday.
Well, May looks a lot better than April, doesn’t it? How much better is May and why?
Lets make like we’re reading Hebrew and start at the right. Martinez has cut his strikeout rate in half (!) while maintaining his walk rate. This is the big news. With more balls in play, Martinez has added five May singles to his April total. This has boosted his batting average, OBP and slugging.
Martinez in the first 18 games of each month has had 10 extra base hits giving him 20 on the year, tied for the IL lead. In May, three doubles became homers. One could argue that it’s further evidence that he’s driving the ball better. The reverse argument is that there isn’t a huge difference in the way a batter hits a double and a homer and that sometimes a hit ball becomes a double and sometimes a homer. I read the small samples that he’s really driving the same number of balls with similar authority. Watch his total number and rate of XBH to determine whether Martinez is driving more balls, not just hitting the same number hard.
A few more tasty tidbits:
– Martinez has stolen his first two bases of the year in May.
-According to minorleaguesplits.com, whose numbers are a few days behind, Martinez has upped his line drive percentage from 14.5% in April to 20.4% in May. He’s also popping out less. His IF/F ratio has plummeted from 11.1% to 4.3%.
Add the lowered strikeout and popout rates to the increased number of homers and we see a young hitter adapting to a level. I’m tempted to use the word relaxed for his May.
Martinez is getting close friends, very close.