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Russell Martin and the Underrated Older Guy

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The Pirates catcher has been one of the better catchers this season, toiling in fantasy anonymity.

Justin K. Aller

Okay, so Grant Brisbee stole what I was going to write for today, but heck with it, I'm doin' it anyway.

(Also, Grant didn't steal anything. He's just good, and that piece is good. Still, I was annoyed, the big jerk. He got to my topic first.)

I'm in a 20-team dynasty league with 30-man rosters. I drafted Jarrod Saltalamacchia as my starting catcher in the preseason - because, as we all know, I was high on him, and I think I was at least more right than wrong on that - but as it got later in the draft, I needed to look for a backup.

Figuring whatever, it's a backup in a 20-teamer, I used a late pick on Russell Martin. A 31-year-old catcher coming off a .226/.327/.377 season isn't a great dynasty play, but I had to have someone as a backup, and Martin, I figured, was at least good for a few steals at a steal-less position.

And, you know, I was wrong. Martin, who had stolen at least six bases every season of his career before this one, has only three now. He's not really been very helpful there (though, whatever, only one catcher has more). What he has done, though, is provide help in other categories. He's No. 5 among catchers in batting average (minimum 300 PAs) at .285, 10th in RBI. With six homers and 35 runs scored, he's been marginally helpful there as well.

The Yahoo! player rater has Martin as the No. 10 catcher so far this season. Every catcher ahead of him is at least 50-percent owned. Martin is only at 27. I get it - he's still a 31-year-old Pirates catcher who appeared in Grant's column - but at some point, his production is his production. And it's not like he's been regressing - over the last month, he's at .313/.426/.410.

I made a lot of mistakes in that dynasty draft. Eric Hosmer hasn't worked out (sob). Neither have Pedro Alvarez, Justin Verlander, or Tony Cingrani. I did grab Dee Gordon with one of my last picks, so yay me. But Martin, too, was a success.

And I did that months ago. So take that, Grant Brisbee.