As everyone knows, last year, the Astros traded their face of the franchise and RF in Hunter Pence to the Phillies for a package of top prospects including Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart, Domingo Santana and Josh Zeid. Almost immediately after that trade, top prospect, J.D. Martinez was called up from AA Corpus Christi straight to the Astros. Martinez did more than hold his own as he batted .274 with 6 home runs and 35 rbi spread out over 226 plate appearances. Martinez will essentially take over for Hunter Pence although they will not play the same position as Pence is a RF, but I ask, will we really miss Hunter Pence’s production with the presence of J.D. Martinez?
Martinez was the steal of the draft as a 20th round selection of the Astros in 2009 and quickly ascended up the ranks of our minor league system. He hit at least .300 in every stop as well as clubbing at least 12 homers. The kid can absolutely rake. Ideally he is a LF or DH, both of which we will have in 2013, as Martinez’ knee does tend to give him some issues. For right now though, he is penciled in as our starting LF and three hole hitter as Carlos Lee makes the switch over to 1B for a full season. Martinez is one of those players who doesn’t have an ounce of quit in him and will outwork other players who have more natural skills. He is a pure gap hitter who should see an increase in HR production from the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park. Add in the fact that he has reportedly added muscle mass in the past few seasons and the Astros could have something very special in Martinez.
To this day, scouts do not believe he will ever hit more than 15 home runs or drive in 75 runs over the course of a full season. I simply do not agree. Martinez isn’t solid on defense and will not steal many bases but other than that, I do not see any flaws in his game, especially offensively. In his best season, Pence hit 25 home runs and drove in 91 runs while hitting .282. I certainly believe that line to be achievable for Martinez, maybe even as soon as this year. Martinez’ game reminds me alot of Baltimore Orioles OF, Nick Markakis. Very unorthodox methods but both guys get the job done at the plate. What about you? Do you think we will miss Hunter Pence’s offensive production now that Martinez will be playing everyday?