Originally posted on Baseball Prospectus  |  Last updated 1/18/12
Hope springs eternal as spring training approaches—and then something like this happens. The Tigers found out on Tuesday that Victor Martinez tore the ACL in his left knee, and the 33-year-old is likely to require surgery, which would leave him sidelined for all of the 2012 season. Detroit was viewed as a favorite to repeat atop the American League Central this year, and at first glance, Martinez’s absence seems a crushing blow. Losing the number-five hitter hurts any lineup, particularly when that hitter posted a robust .330/.380/.470 triple slash the previous season. But a closer look reveals that Martinez’s production may not be irreplaceable. Despite his gaudy batting line, Martinez’s overall contributions in 2011 totaled just 3.1 WARP, because he offers no value on defense. One of V-Mart’s significant credentials, though, is that he is a switch-hitter, able to handle lefties and righties about equally well.  That component of his production figures to be the most difficult for
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