<
>

Russell Martin has some pull with Yankees

5/14/2011

The New York Yankees lead all of baseball with 57 home runs (the next closest team is the Cincinnati Reds with 44), and one of the biggest surprises has been the power shown by newcomer Russell Martin.

Russell Martin

MartinOne adjustment that's helped Martin was the move from Dodger Stadium, which last season barely was above the league average in its Home Run Park Factor, to Yankee Stadium, the third-friendliest environment for home run hitters in 2010.

Martin, who did not hit a home run in the second half of 2010, has already hit six this season. So, it would be easy to conclude that moving to a bandbox is the root cause of this surge.

But Martin's health could be just as large of an explanation.

Last season, Martin struggled with hip and right knee injuries and didn’t play after Aug. 3. Martin had fewer plate appearances in the entire second half of 2010 (54) than he already has this season (114).

With those injuries healed, Martin has been able to generate more power and pull the ball more effectively (see charts).

This season, 19 of his 25 hits -- including all six of his home runs – have been to left or left-center field. Martin had only three hits to left/left-center in the second half of 2010.