JD Martinez is Already Proving His Worth to the Red Sox

By: Emma West

“He’s too old to offer him five years.”

“He had one good year.”

“Pablo was a bust.”

“Big contracts never work out, especially for the Red Sox.”

It’s early, but J.D. Martinez is proving the doubters wrong. After signing a 5 year, $110 million contract on February – complete with opt outs available after 2019, 2020, and 2021 – Martinez is already having the best season of his life. He’s on pace for 51 home runs and 138 RBIs: it’s a track almost impossible to maintain, but so far he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

For the past few weeks, he has been in competition with teammate Mookie Betts for the American League lead in home runs, a friendly contest between the two friends. He’s batting .320, 8th in the American League, with a 1.029 OPS, which is 3rd in the A.L. He’s getting on base however he can; and, more often than not, it’s an extra base hit that gets him there.

Of course, these numbers are very short-term ones. There does not seem to be reason to worry, though: in his seven complete seasons in the majors, he batted over .300 in three of them. In four of the seven, he had over 20 home runs. He’s shown an upward trend in almost every statistic throughout his career, except for a brief skid in 2016.

Though not a Gold Glove fielder by any stretch, Martinez is also solid defensively. He’s made only two errors in his starts in the outfield. The Green Monster is kind to no one, and Martinez is handing it with ease.

Most importantly, Martinez is a student of the game. According to ESPN, he videotapes his batting practice swings, sends the film to his hitting coach, and asks for tips to improve. He uses a notebook in the dugout, in which he keeps observations about pitchers he is facing and different approaches he can use at the plate. It’s clear that this academic approach is working out for the slugger.

Martinez’ path to stardom has been compared to none other than Big Papi himself. The two even bonded over their late development as hitters at Red Sox Spring training. Am I saying that Martinez is the next David Ortiz? No. But I’m saying anything is possible.


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