Alright you’ll have to bear with me here, because this is the second straight week I will be writing about the red-hot cleanup hitter for the Boston Red Sox, but if J.D. Martinez keeps producing at the plate like he’s been, I’ll write about him each and every week until the end of the season. For many skeptics to the signing, they have been rightly shut up by the veteran as he has been worth every penny of his 5-year, $110 million dollar contract.
Martinez has been better than advertised as through his first 42 games and 180 plate appearances, he’s slashing .344/.394/.656 with 13 homers (second best in all MLB right now) and 38 RBI’s. He’s hit four homers in his last five games and the last two nights he’s hit first inning jacks to center field to get the offense going and propel the Sox to victory.
A lot of his early success can be attributed to the clubhouse chemistry the Red Sox have had since the outset thanks to first-year skipper Alex Cora and the vibe around the room. He’s a great player-manager and has given Martinez the keys to be a leader on the team right away, and it has shown through. Boston was also the first team in the majors to reach 30 wins this season, further showing the impact of Martinez and Cora in year one.
Let’s not forget the flexibility Martinez gives Cora on a day-to-day basis. Martinez ability to plug and play the corner outfield spots (mostly left) without any hesitation or worry about him in the field, has given the Boston manager the ability to play the best lineup almost every night. That lineup has recently featured much more of first baseman Mitch Moreland (.319/.398/.606) who has been locked in with 6 homers and Hanley Ramirez (.287/.345/.446) as the designated hitter with Martinez in left, Andrew Benintedi in center and the streaky Jackie Bradley Jr. riding the pine despite his terrific defense. With almost zero production coming from the catcher spot on offense, Cora has to ride Moreland & Ramirez and Martinez’s ability to play left field is a huge commodity for the Red Sox.
J.D. has been a force in the middle of the Red Sox order and is on pace for another 45-plus home run season. He’s been better than advertised and a huge cog in the Boston machine with his ability to produce at the plate, defend a corner outfield spot and be a leader in Alex Cora’s clubhouse. Martinez is one of the best pure hitters in baseball with his ability to hit to all fields consistently.
The Red Sox look to finish off the rest of this four-game set at home strong with the last-place Baltimore Orioles before heading down to Tampa for a quick three-game set.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank