In 2018 outfielder Nick Martini made a name for himself in the Oakland Athletics lineup. Unfortunately prior to the start of the 2019 season he injured his knee. Which meant the signing of Robbie Grossman.
That move has not paid off for the Athletics nor Grossman. While he has not shown much of an arm in left field, he positions himself well and has made several nice plays in left field. Though offensively it has been a completely different story. He started off as the A’s lead off hitter primarily for his ability to work the count and get on-base. As for the last three seasons with the Minnesota Twins his on-base percentage was .371.
Manager Bob Melvin tried to get him to heat up by flipping him between batting lead off and second to no avail. As he hit a combined .186 with an obp of .312. He also hit two home runs and drove in eight.
Seemingly what has helped Grossman stay in the lineup is that he has been comfortable hitting in the sixth spot or seventh spot. He’s hit .304 with an obp of .376. While he definitely has raised the on-base percentage and batting average the one thing he has not done showcase the ability to produce as he has only two home runs and 16 rbi.
Overall for Grossman as Oakland’s left fielder he has hit .249 with four home runs and 25 rbi. Also, appearing in left field have been Chad Pinder (26 games), Mark Canha (8 games), Khris Davis (4 games) and Martini (2 games).
The Athletics left fielders have combined in 113 games to hit seven home runs and have driven in only 39 with a batting average of .233 and an obp of .318.
Tonight though the A’s appeared to have their answer for who is to start in left field for the remainder of the season and that is Martini. He pinch-hit in the top of the eighth inning and worked an 11 pitch at-bat resulting in a two-run home run. That was one of the more impressive at-bats of the season.
It also shows why he was so important to the team last season in the 55 games he played in. He hit .296 with and obp of .397. While he didn’t hit for much power only one home run, he did show his propensity to work the count and he primarily hit lead off.
He also finished the season off strong hitting .373 with a .467 obp in 16 games in September and October.
Even more surprising is that once he returned healthy the A’s didn’t bring him back up. Martini was certainly impressive in Las Vegas. In the 60 games that he played he hit .332 with a .435 obp along with five home runs and 35 rbi.
If the Athletics are going to erase the blemish in left field it starts and ends with Martini.