Hall of Fame Ballot Review – Edgar Martinez


Player Profile on Baseball Reference.com

Notable Career Accomplishments
2247 hits
.312 batting average
.418 on base percentage
.515 slugging percentage
OPS+ of 147
7 All-Star Appearances
5 Silver Slugger Awards
6 100+ rbi seasons

The Case for Martinez

Martinez was 1 of the 2 dominant players at his position for the majority of his career. His career numbers all compare favorably on a year-to-year basis with other similar players (ie players who did not start playing full-time until age 27 or later). His career OPS+ tells me that he was an excellent player, with some elite years mixed in. He also had OPS+ seasons of 150 or greater 7 times.

The Case Against Martinez

Martinez was a full-time position player only until 1995, when knee injuries forced him to be a designated hitter full-time. He was never much of a homerun hitter, only finishing with more than 30 in a season once. Due to his injuries and late arrival to the majors, his career totals are not particularly impressive. Also, he was rarely, if ever, the best player on his team.

Analysis

Personally, I think that the argument that designated hitters should not be in the Hall of Fame is a load of crap. The rules of the game clearly consider the designated hitter to be an important position, not to mention a valid one.

So how do his career numbers stack up? He had 2247 hits and an excellent career line (.312/.418/.515). All three of these numbers point to prolonged excellence. His career OPS+ (147) tells me that he was an elite hitter and slugger. While I do think extra credit can be given to hitters who can also field, I don’t think fair to judge him as necessarily someone who cannot field.

Then we are left to look at how dominant a hitter he truly was. From 1995-2001, a span of 7 seasons, Martinez’ lowest OPS+ was 152, never hit below .306, had at least 23 homers and 86 rbi (driving in over 102 in the other 6 seasons), and slugging .543 or better every year. I would definitely consider that to be a dominant stretch, and coupled with his career numbers, leads me to believe he is a Hall of Famer.

MY VOTE: YES

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