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J.D. Martinez Proving His 2020 Was a Fluke

It may be early in the season, but Boston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez is proving to both players and fans that his 2020 was a fluke. Martinez, 33, is currently sporting a .533 batting average and a 1.721 OPS, after going 2-3 with a home run in last night’s victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Now granted, it has only been four games, but last season was so rough for Martinez that were questions as to whether or not the 3-time all-star would return to form. I mean, after hitting .213 in 54 games in 2020, it is understandable that questions began to be asked.

From 2014 to 2019, Martinez averaged 34 homers, 98 RBIs, and a .307/.373/.954 split in 136 games. Obviously Martinez wasn’t given the chance to play that same amount of games in 2020, but him dropping his batting average by almost a whole .100 over the span of year had to be nerve-racking to the Red Sox and their fans.

Standard Batting
Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
2014 26 DET 123 480 441 57 139 30 3 23 76 6 30 126 .315 .358 .553 .912 244 8 3 0 6 5 *79/HD
2015 27 DET 158 657 596 93 168 33 2 38 102 3 53 178 .282 .344 .535 .879 319 11 5 0 3 7 *9D/H AS,MVP-15,SS
2016 28 DET 120 517 460 69 141 35 2 22 68 1 49 128 .307 .373 .535 .908 246 13 3 0 5 2 *9/DH
2017 29 TOT 119 489 432 85 131 26 3 45 104 4 53 128 .303 .376 .690 1.066 298 23 0 0 4 8 *9/DH MVP-14
2017 29 DET 57 232 200 38 61 13 2 16 39 2 29 54 .305 .388 .630 1.018 126 10 0 0 3 5 9/DH
2017 29 ARI 62 257 232 47 70 13 1 29 65 2 24 74 .302 .366 .741 1.107 172 13 0 0 1 3 9/DH
2018 30 BOS 150 649 569 111 188 37 2 43 130 6 69 146 .330 .402 .629 1.031 358 19 4 0 7 11 D79 AS,MVP-4,SS,SS
2019 31 BOS 146 657 575 98 175 33 2 36 105 2 72 138 .304 .383 .557 .939 320 19 4 0 5 9 D97/H AS,MVP-21
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/6/2021.

But luckily for Boston, Martinez looks like he is back in the form he was in for his first two seasons with the Sox. A great hitter that’s presence in the middle of the lineup is hard to come by.

Still, what happened in 2020 that made Martinez fall-off to the extent he did? Could it have been that Alex Cora was no longer at the helm? Did the pandemic have a huge impact of Martinez’s mental health? Maybe so, but the most likely factor is that the DH had to go without in-game video all of last year.

With that back 2021, Martinez is set up to have another monster season and regain his form as the hitter that opposing pitchers have feared since 2014.

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– Jarrod Ribaudo (@jarrod_ribaudo on Twitter)

Featured image courtesy of Twitter / @NBCSBoston

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