Overshadowed by the progression of both Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers in 2019, J.D. Martinez has continued to destroy major league pitching. The 32-year-old designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox is currently slashing a quiet .317 / .590 / .984. It isn’t the .330 / .629 / 1.031 he posted last season, and that is another big reason why his great season is flying under the radar.
It is unfair in a sense for Martinez’s performance to be disregarded, but I am sure it does not bother him. Like I mentioned, his play this season looms in the shadows of Devers and Bogaerts becoming bonafide stars. Martinez already performed like a star before this season and fans expected that to continue, and it has.
Despite dealing with a back injury early in the season, Martinez has 34 home runs and 93 RBI’s. Bogaerts, Devers, and himself have helped create one of the toughest lineups to pitch against in 2019. That does not reflect in Boston’s record this season, but regardless Martinez continues to kill it, helping Boston inch closer and closer to a potential playoff berth. You have seen that especially since the Sox headed out West to San Diego.
Martinez has the ability to opt-out of his contract with the Red Sox after this season. He may not opt-out due to the state of his free agent market (appears to be American League exclusive), but who knows. If he does not head to free agency, he would be in Boston for three more seasons.
Regardless of whether he opts-out or not, Boston has to keep Martinez in the middle of their lineup if they want to continue to be one of the most feared offenses in the majors. The situation will be interesting to monitor as Martinez continues to raise his value by quietly pummeling pitchers in 2019.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)