The St. Louis Cardinals have a great set of fans. We are known as Cardinals Nation. We love the Cardinals and the Cardinals love us.
Whether you are single or married, today is Valentine’s Day. Did you receive a card? Did you receive chocolate? Whether you did or did not, the St. Louis Cardinals love you.
Cardinals Nation is one lucky group of fans. In all honesty, we are spoiled fans. We love a team that typically wins. We love players who actually participate with us on Twitter (see Dexter Fowler‘s tweets with fans). And, we love players who develop themselves constantly.
At the same time, Cardinals Nation is a great group of people who are passionate about their team; passionate enough to voice their concerns. If you don’t believe this, go to Twitter or Facebook and search for the St. Louis Cardinals. If you do this, you will find plenty of complaints about Mike Matheny, and lame performance from time to time.
Having said all of that, let me shed some love on a player climbing the ranks: Nick Martini. Before diving into his numbers and convincing you why you should love Martini too, here’s a little love sent from him to Cardinals Nation:
Sweet, right? Don’t you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? You darn well should! Want to experience more feels about Martini? Let’s jump into his numbers.
Nick Martini will turn twenty-seven during the 2017 season. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh round of the 2011 amateur draft from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. He has been climbing the organizational ranks since 2011 when he started in low-A.
In two seasons in single-A, Martini posted a slash line of .260/.351/.338. No, not too flashy but not bad either. In three seasons in AA, Martini posted a slash line of .259/.369/.363. Again, not too flashy but not bad either.
These numbers helped Martini continually improve and climb. These numbers have lead to two seasons in AAA where he has posted a slash line of .295/.378/.407. In these years- specifically in 2016- Martini grabbed 256 at-bats in Memphis and managed to hit twelve doubles, three triples, two home runs, and twenty-six RBI.
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Where his at-the-plate numbers aren’t the kind that shoot him directly to the majors, he has elements that make him worthy of our love. Included in this statement is his speed. Martini stole six bags in six tried in 2016 during his time in Memphis. For his minor league career, Martini has amassed fifty-three stolen bags in eighty tries (a 66.3% SB rate).
How about his fielding? Martini has appeared in 2,433.1 innings in CF in the minors posting a fielding percentage of .986 and a RF/9 of 2.40. As a point of reference for this, Tommy Pham (a regular target of mine lately) has posted a career CF fielding percentage of 1.000 and a RF/9 of 1.98.
Martini has also logged time in LF and RF. Respectively, he has logged 727 innings and 2,015.1 innings. In LF, he owns a .980 fielding percentage and a RF/9 of 1.78 (Pham has RF/9 of 1.34). In RF, Martini owns a .983 fielding percentage and a RF/9 of 2.13 (Pham has a RF/9 of 1.33).
In my two most recent articles, I have suggested that the St. Louis Cardinals should look at Todd Cunningham and/or Jose Martinez as possible solutions to their need for a fourth outfielder over the incumbent Pham. How do these two stack up to Martini? Should he get an equal shake too?
Cunningham, straight from my recent article on him, has posted a MLB slash of .207/.256/.264 slash. In his minor league career, however, he has posted a .276/.350/.370. These numbers suggest that Martini should usurp Cunningham.
How about Martinez? In my recent article on him, I shared that Martinez has posted a minor league slash of .294/.354/.410. These numbers are almost the exact match to Martini. In this regard then, Martini and Martinez should be the two to battle it out against Pham this spring.
What do you think? I look for these players, as I have said, to have a good deal of playing time early. Look for Martini to display his wheels on the bags to earn his spot and break camp with the big boys. I hope he does as he is a player I really like. Thanks for the read and go Cardinals!