Nick Martini has provided missing ingredient in Jake Fraley's absence

Nick Martini was signed to a minor-league contract earlier this year.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Martini
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Martini / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

A week ago, it was painful obvious about week ago that the Cincinnati Reds were missing that power-bat in the middle of their lineup.

Manager David Bell had reshuffled the lineup and moved TJ Friedl back atop the batting order and pushed Elly De La Cruz out of the leadoff spot. That certainly helped, but the Reds were missing some thump in the middle of the lineup.

Jake Fraley's absence has been a glaring weakness. While Christian Encarnacion-Strand can certainly send it out of the stadium, the strikeouts had been piling up. Needing a left-handed bat in the middle of the lineup, Cincinnati turned to Nick Martini.

Nick Martini has provided missing ingredient in Jake Fraley's absence.

Nick Martini was signed to a minor league contract during the offseason, and while he'd played very well, the 33-year-old had spent the entire 2023 season down at Triple-A until his contract was selected by the Cincinnati Reds last week.

Martini has made a dramatic impact in the middle of the Reds lineup. Typically occupying the No. 5 spot in the batting order, Martini is hitting .385/.500/.923 in his first five games with the Reds. While it's a very small sample size, Martini had been mashing all season down the minors.

In 93 games with the Louisville Bats, Martini hit .275/.393/.481 and posted a respectable 14.4-percent walk-rate. Martini has gone 5-for-13 with the Reds, with three of his five hits going for extra bases. Martini has only gone down swinging once while taking a free pass on three separate occasions.

Jake Fraley is said to be rehabbing from a fracture in his foot, but is expected to gut it out over the final month of the season. It's possible that Reds fans could see Fraley back on the field later this week.

But even if Fraley is back sooner than expected, it's quite possible that Nick Martini will finish out the 2023 season on the Cincinnati Reds active roster. With Joey Votto having been placed on the IL with a shoulder injury, there's a chance the Reds will need Martini's left-handed power-swing for the rest of the season.