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St. Louis Cardinals: Can’t Go Wrong With Martinez

J.D. vs. Jose Martinez

We all knew the St. Louis Cardinals were missing a middle of the order hitter heading into the July 31st trade deadline. Many fans hoped that the front office would be able to acquire that big bopper before the deadline passed. Unfortunately, not only did the Cardinals not acquire one, there was only one high profile hitter moved at all. That hitter was JD Martinez.

It was reported that the Cardinals had checked in on Martinez but they moved on pretty quickly. Seemingly not wanting to pay for a rental and instead were focused on adding controllable assets.

Why am I talking so much about JD Martinez, you ask? Well, I was reading a piece from Bernie Miklasz yesterday from 101Sports.com. In the article he was discussing how John Mozeliak may have been correct in turning to all of the young players this season. What really caught my attention though was a stat Bernie threw out stating that Jose Martinez has been a 17% better hitter than JD in the second half.

“No way” I immediately thought. Not that I thought Bernie would make that up, I knew Jose had been good. But, I have JD on my fantasy team and I’ve been watching him put up some insane numbers. I thought there was absolutely no way that Jose had been better than him.

Sure enough, JD’s second half wRC+ is 169 while Jose’s is 184. My interest was piqued. I dug a little deeper and found some more similarities.

JD was traded to the Diamondbacks on July 18th. Jose was recalled from Memphis on July 14th. I decided to compare their stats since July 19th. This was JD’s first game with Arizona and Jose only played one game between the 14th and 19th, so it made the comparison pretty easy. Here’s how they compare:

Games PA’s HR’s BA OBP SLG% OPS wOBA wRC+
J.D. 47 195 22 .286 .354 .726 1.080 .432 163
Jose 40 114 8 .361 .447 .670 1.117 .462 190

JD has played quite a bit more, as you can see by his 81 more plate appearances. And the 22 home runs are extremely impressive, along with his .726 slugging percentage. Jose, however, tops him in every other stat. While JD clearly has more power, Jose’s contact ability along with his extremely healthy walk rate of 14% over this time vs. JD’s 9.7% puts Jose over the top overall.

How does this compare to the rest of baseball?

Both of these players have extremely impressive numbers since July 19th. They’ve been two of the best in baseball over that span. Here’s how they stack up against the rest of MLB since then. I used a minimum of 80 PA’s because that’s what the Fangraphs splits tool defaulted to.

HR’s OPS wOBA wRC+
J.D. 2nd 5th 10th 14th
Jose T-71st 3rd 2nd 2nd

Once again, JD’s power stands out even though Jose is better overall.

While I’m certainly not even close to being ready to say that Jose is the better player moving forward, it’s fun to see that after passing on a player that many fans thought they should get, the Cardinals have their own Martinez outpacing him.

As the saying goes, “It’s just like making a trade!”.

Thanks for reading

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