29 year old switch hitting Victor Martinez has had an incredible run the last 4 seasons for the Indians. Martinez has averaged 147 games, 77.5 runs scored, 21 homers and 98.8 RBIs per season over his last 4 years with the Indians. Martinez played in 147 games last season for the Indians and he was 169 for 562 (.301 avg, .879 OPS) with 78 runs scored, 25 homers and 114 RBIs. The most important development last season was the improvement that Martinez showed behind the plate as he threw out 30% of the runners that tried to steal on him and pitchers had a 4.01 ERA with him behind the plate. Martinez often plays first base when Kelly Shoppach is catching and he usually does a good job there. Look for Martinez to have another outstanding season in 2008 for the Indians.
28 year old righty swinging Kelly Shoppach could start for a lot of teams so the Indians are lucky to have him as a backup. Shoppach played in 59 games last season for the Indians and he was 42 for 161 (.261 avg, .782 OPS) with 26 runs scored, 7 homers and 30 RBIs. He also is an outstanding defensive player as he threw out 36% of the runners attempting to steal on him last year. Pitchers also had a 4.16 ERA when he was catching which shows that pitchers like to throw to him. Shoppach is Paul Byrd’s personal catcher. He should have another solid season.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR 2008: A