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NL West Report: Can Russell Martin find his big boy bat?

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The Dodgers were supposed to have an elite offense.  In fact, they do.  But one position they weren't worried about was catcher, where they were supposed to have one of the best young bats in the game.

I have had heated debates in the past year regarding the best young catcher in the NL.  Naturally, I am partial to Chris Iannetta.  There have been reasonable arguments, however, for Pittsburgh's Ryan Doumit, Chicago's Geovany Soto and Los Angeles' Russell Martin. 

So far this year, Iannetta has underperformed to be sure, but he's still put up better numbers than Soto, Doumit and Martin.  Okay, so it's no so fair to Doumit, who has been injured for two months.  But Soto has been terrible and Martin has played 62 games, 22 more than Iannetta.  CDI is in double figures in HR, so how is Martin doing?

Actually, Russell Martin hit his first home run of the season two days ago, off Angels starter Jered Weaver.  It was his first RBI and first 3-hit game since May 25 at Colorado.  Apparently, his resurgent power came from mimicking injured bench player Doug Mientkiewicz

You don't often see All-Stars finding their swing by watching hobbled bench players.

Russell Martin

#55 / Catcher / Los Angeles Dodgers





Feb 15, 1983

2009 - Russell Martin .248 .365 .302



For context, that OBP and SLG are both worse than not only Chris Iannetta, but just for fun, check them against Ubaldo Jimenez' slash stats (.304/.360/.304).  He has been less valuable than not only Iannetta but also two Marlins' catchers, two Braves catchers' and Cincy rookie Ryan Hanigan.  What is going on? 

In all honesty, I do not know.  His .303 BABIP is a little lower than his career numbers, but he's putting up a career best 20.7% line drive rate.  He's striking out a little more but walking just as much as we are used to.  Is it possible that he's just unlucky this season?  Or his batted balls have been hit with less authority due to a mechanical flaw? Maybe he was overperforming the last couple years.  Maybe he has lost strength due to fatigue by being used so frequently.  I'll let you make your own conclusions.

NL West Report

Arizona (29-41, 5th, L3, 17 GB)

Last Week: 2-1 @ Royals, 0-3 @ Mariners.

This Week: 3 game home series vs Rangers, 3 game home series vs. Angels

News:  Brandon Webb has not made any progress rehabbing his injury and may need shoulder surgery, which would leave him out for the year.  If so, Arizona may decline his option for 2010.  If all that goes down, Opening Day may be his last appearance in sedona red.  Weird.

Brandon Webb

#17 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks





May 09, 1979


Jayson Stark writes that Arizona would like to trade Chad Tracy and Doug Davis, suggesting the Mets as a destination for Davis. 

Despite floundering in last place, Felipe Lopez wants to stay in Arizona.  He has been mentioned as a trade possibility, but he likes his teammates and the organization.

As you already know I'm sure, Arizona and Colorado have agreed to build a spring training facility in Scottsdale for use in 2011.  Check out opinions of 'Pitters.

The D-Backs signed 1st round and 17th overall pick AJ Pollack to a $1.4mil bonus.

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Tom Gordon hamstring 05/04/2009
Yusmeiro Petit shoulder 05/09/2009
Conor Jackson pneumonia 05/12/2009
Chad Tracy oblique 05/30/2009

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brandon Webb shoulder 04/07/2009

More on the rest of the division after the fold.

Los Angeles (46-24, 1st, W2)

Last Week: 2-1 vs Athletics, 2-1 vs Angels

This Week: 3 game road series @ White Sox, 3 game home series vs Mariners.

News: Buster Olney thinks that Joe Torre is overusing his bullpen and will need help in the pen, assuming the overuse will lead to injuries or ineffectiveness.

It was initially reported that Shawn Estes retired, but it turns out he has not.  He has, however, been unsuccessful at earning his release from the Dodgers.

Shawn Estes

#36 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers





Feb 18, 1973

Released Val Pascucci.

Signed Korean HS corner IF Tae-hyeok Nam.

Manny Ramirez will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday at AAA Albuquerque so that he'll be ready for his return July 3 for his 50-game suspension.  What makes no sense to me is that minor league players don't get "rehab assignments" when they are suspended under the substance abuse policy.  Why should Ramirez get the benefit of playing anywhere before his suspension is up?  50 games should mean 50 games. 

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Eric Milton back 06/06/2009
Will Ohman shoulder 05/28/2009
Eric Stults thumb 05/31/2009
Hong-Chih Kuo elbow 04/30/2009
Jason Schmidt shoulder 03/30/2009
Xavier Paul knee 05/21/2009

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Doug Mientkiewicz shoulder 04/17/2009
Claudio Vargas elbow 04/05/2009


San Diego (30-38, 4th, W1, 15 GB)

Last Week: 1-2 vs Mariners.  1-2 vs Athletics. 

This Week: 3 game road series @ Mariners, 3 game road series @ Rangers.

News:  Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribuine suggests the Padres truly commit to their youth movement and inject youth as much as possible.

Kevin Towers suggests that that is exactly what they will do if they fall completely out of contention

The Padres have been making a lot of roster moves recently, and Paul DePodesta gives the rundown on the moves:

  • Everth Cabrera has been activated off the disabled list.  To make room, the Padres released Josh Wilson, who was immediately picked up by his third team - Seattle - in as many months.
  • Wade LeBlanc got the call from AAA and is now in the rotation.
  • Cliff Floyd was placed on the 60-day DL with a shoulder injury, while Nick Hundley and Chris Young joined Jake Peavy on the 15-day DL with a shoulder injuries.
  • Bud Black's rotation now includes Josh Geer, Wade LeBlanc, Chad Gaudin, Kevin Correia and Walter Silva.
  • The contract of top prospect Kyle Blanks was purchased from AAA and Arturo Lopez, who the Rockies beat up in his MLB debut earlier this year, was claimed off waivers by the Mets.

  • Chris Young

    #32 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres





    May 25, 1979

Brian Lawrence signed a minor league deal with San Diego.  The 2003 and 2004 Padres' Opening Day starter will report to AAA Portland but could provide assistance with the big club soon despite being out of the big leagues since 2007.

Acquired LH RP Mike O'Connor from Washington for a PTBNL. 

San Diego Padres Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Jake Peavy ankle 06/09/2009
Chris Young shoulder 06/15/2009
Scott Hairston biceps 06/03/2009
Nick Hundley wrist 06/18/2009
Luke Gregerson shoulder 06/08/2009
Luis Perdomo knee 06/08/2009

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Shawn Hill elbow 04/26/2009
Cliff Floyd shoulder 06/18/2009
Cha Seung Baek forearm 03/30/2009
Mark Worrell elbow 03/27/2009


San Francisco (37-31, 2nd, W3, 8 GB)

Last Week: 0-3 vs  Angels, 3-0 vs Rangers.   Texas didn't help the Rockies out by getting swept.  Had the Rangers won the series, the Rockies would be in 2nd place in the NL West.

This Week:  3 game road series @ Athletics, 3 game road series @ Brewers

News: Jonathan Sanchez may not be tradeable.  His value has diminished on a Garrett Atkins level this season.  Sanchez is 2-7 with a 5.43 ERA so far this season.

Infielder Emmanuel Burriss was optioned to AAA last week in favor of Matt Downs.  Burriss had gone 12 days without a hit.  Catcher Steve Holm was DFA'd to make room on the 40-man roster.

Reliever Shingo Takatsu signed a minor league contract.  He hasn't pitched in the majors in four years, when he was with the Mets.  He was the 2004 AL ROY runner-up with the White Sox.

The Rockies are struggling with having six outfielders who deserve regular at-bats at the major league level.  The Giants are struggling with having too many "almost-average" OFs.  McCovey Chronicles discusses who should be getting the AB's.

San Francisco Giants Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Juan Uribe hamstring 06/21/2009

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Noah Lowry ribs 03/27/2009
Joe Martinez concussion 04/10/2009