JD Martinez is out, let's see how much that costs the Tigers


In Thursday's game against the Kansas City Royals, J.D. Martinez chased a foul ball in right field and slammed into the wall. Walls are generally stronger than humans and less prone to break than a human bone, so JD lost that fight. His fractured elbow will take him out of commission from anywhere from 4-6 weeks, and that absolutely sucks.

Why?

Because as far as the Runs Created stat is concerned, he was the fourth-highest run producer in the lineup, just behind Victor Martinez and just ahead of Nick Castellanos.

He will be replaced by Steven Moya for the time being, an actual giant who lives in the boggy creeks of Toledo, OH, and who can hit a baseball approximately nine thousand feet.

So what is the actual cost to the Tigers of losing J.D. Martinez for a month-and-some-change, in terms of runs and wins?

It's actually (maybe) (probably) (hopefully?) not that bad.

J.D. Martinez was worth an average of 6.2 runs created per game (note, that doesn't mean six actual runs, it means the value of his offense adds up to the potential for six runs), and in the short time that he spent with the Tigers already this year, Steven Moya was worth 5.8 runs created per game. Granted, Moya only played in nine games and got 33 plate appearances, but the potential is there.

It's not a massive dropoff, is what I'm trying to say.

I hope.

If we use a more rudimentary calculation based on home runs, runs scored, and RBI, J.D. Martinez has been worth about 0.97 actual runs per game, and Steven Moya has been worth about 1.18 runs per game in Toledo this year.

What is all of that worth when we translate it into wins? If the Tigers replaced Martinez with a zero-run producer and had to absorb the entire loss of JD's run production, it would equal just slightly less than four wins (assuming he remains out for the full six weeks and does not return until after July 30). That's the worst case scenario.

The good news is that Steven Moya is raking in Toledo right now, slashing .298/.326/.571 with an .896 OPS and 28 extra-base hits (including 13 dingers), and he's only striking out in 21 percent of his plate appearances. That's extremely livable, especially compared to what some guys on the MLB roster (cough-cough UPTON cough) are doing.

Fingers crossed, but in theory, Moya should provide adequate compensation for the loss of run production out of JD's bat, and the Tigers shouldn't miss too many steps on the way to the trade deadline this August.
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