No one in baseball is hotter than the Boston Red Sox and leading the way is JD Martinez. This team just can’t be stopped, rattling off nine straight wins after beginning their season by getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles. But the Sox bounced back, sweeping the Rays, then the Orioles, and then taking three of four from the Twins.
A big reason for that success was the play of JD Martinez. He was a hero for the Red Sox back in 2018 when he brought a new kind of power to Fenway Park, able to go opposite field and over the left monster whenever he pleased. On top of that, he acted as a pseudo hitting coach for the Sox, mentoring younger hitters and breaking downs swings.
JD Martinez 2020 Slump
But in 2020, things were not great for the power hitter. He hit .213 in the shortened season and didn’t have that same pop that we were used to. Martinez was a big user of the dugout cameras after each at-bat in previous seasons, going into the tunnel and checking out his swing with great detail. But the league banned that starting in the 2020 season and many thought that was the reason Martinez struggled.
Maybe in part that was the reason, but he is back now. Martinez killed the Orioles, racking up six hits over two games with three home runs and five RBI. Martinez is now hitting .378 on the year with five home runs and 16 RBI. The season really hasn’t been going on that long so those numbers are bonkers.
The reason he may be so comfortable again is because MLB began to allow video back in the dugout this season. They have established a way to show video to players in the tunnel after each at-bat while eliminating the possibility for signs to be stolen in the process. Martinez is taking kindly to that, mashing at numbers that are better than what we have even seen from him in the past.
Martinez has made note that he is sick of being judged off of two months of play in which he wasn’t all that great. It was a weird year for the Red Sox with plenty of drama around dismissed manager Alex Cora, frustrations over the no White House visit from guys like Martinez, and the Mookie Betts trade dilemma. But his manager has his back, knowing exactly the type of hitter that Martinez is.
“He’s on a mission to prove people wrong,” manager Alex Cora said after Sunday’s win. “It was only 60 games. He was one month away from getting his numbers right and now he’s locked in and I’m glad he’s swinging the bat the way he is.”
The Red Sox are a really young team entering 2021 and they have plenty of players on this roster who are inexperienced and have a lot to prove. A guy like JD Martinez who is more than happy to step up and mentor is exactly the kind of thing the Red Sox need out of a guy and so with his swing back to normal, he is more valuable than ever.
By: Matt Lively CruelFan.com