Fantasy Baseball Mailbag: Wednesday 5/25/16

Is it time to give up on a struggling Russell Martin? Answers to that and more in our fantasy baseball mailbag.

We're starting a new little diddy here on numberFire to try to help you navigate the ever-changing landscape that is fantasy baseball. It's not easy to keep up with all of the day-to-day fluctuations, so it can help to have someone to bounce ideas off of. That's what our daily mailbag will look to do.

Feel free to shoot us any questions you may have throughout the day on Twitter, and then we'll try to answer as many as we can in the form of a post. If you prefer, you can also send an email to These questions can be anything fantasy baseball related. That means daily fantasy baseball, season-long, dynasty, and everything else are all in play.

Obviously, we won't be able to get to all questions because there's a lot to cover. For additional questions, be sure to check out our new MLB DFS tools along with our daily and season-long projections, which should help out more times than not.

Now, enough of that. Let's dig into today's mailbag and see what's popping in the world of fantasy baseball.

Can we just blast the catcher position into the Sun for Jerry's sake? Guys who sit often and generally suck when they're in the lineup make fantasy a headache, and Jerry's the guy who ends up feeling their true wrath. My condolences, man. But I think we can successfully cut the cord on this puppy with a little bit of effort, as tough as that may be.

Martin has always been a steady guy for the position with his superb plate-discipline stats. His strikeout rate never got higher than 21.3% in a single season, and his walk rate was at least 10.0% every year after his rookie campaign. All of that has gone straight down the tubes this year.

Let's compare this year's Martin to what he did last year in some of the more quickly-stabilizing stats that should give us an idea of whether or not this slow start is fluky. It's probably best not to peep these if you have a queasy stomach.

SeasonStrikeout RateWalk RateSwinging-Strike RateContact Rate

Those numbers would be dope as heck if he were a pitcher. He's not. They're not.

Even though Martin's hard-hit rate is up a bit this year, it doesn't matter much if he can't make contact. Martin's situation would be great if he turned things around, but there's no reason to believe that'll happen any time soon. I'd cut bait and move on.

The question, then, becomes with whom you replace him. Welpy, welp, welp. Is blasting the position into orbit still an option or nah?

My money here would be on the Houston Astros' Jason Castro. They bumped him up to sixth in the order on Tuesday, likely as a result of his 39.1% hard-hit rate and 9.4% soft-hit rate this year. Those are delectable numbers for a catcher, especially one whose spot in the order is trending the right way. He -- like Martin -- strikes out a ton, but when he makes contact, he's doing it with much more authority. If he's not available, then Yan Gomes isn't a terrible option. Either way, it's time to emotionally brace yourself and cut bait. You have our thoughts and sympathies.

More treachery! Think of the children trying to read this! Avert their eyes!

Prince Fielder is similar to Martin in that he's having more troubles than usual making contact, but his strikeout rate is still very good. It's what happens when he does make contact that makes us worry.

Fielder finished last year with a 32.3% hard-hit rate, a mark much lower than the ones he posted in his time before joining the Texas Rangers. It has dipped even more this year to 27.9%, which is well below the big-league average of 34.0% for first basemen. His low slash isn't due to bad luck; it's due to bad performance.

The one difference between Fielder and Martin is that Fielder is starting to pick things up a bit. In the month of May, his hard-hit rate is up to 30.8%, and his soft-hit rate is down to 13.9%. If we look at the last two weeks, his hard-hit rate goes to 36.4% with a soft-hit rate of 9.1%. He's showing signs of getting better, even if things still aren't great.

That's largely the reason I'd be willing to wait things out a bit with Prince. It'd be wise to monitor his playing time now that Joey Gallo is with the big club, but if they let him keep hacking away, the results may finally come.

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