The Neverending Story for the winter months was the ongoing drama surrounding the signing of J.D. Martinez. What JDM brings to the table is impressive right-handed power with 45 home runs in just 119 games in 2017, but it gets even better.
Better is a four-year average of .302 and for comparison, Giancarlo Stanton has never broken the .300 barrier. Martinez also led all major league baseball with a .690 slugging percentage. Toss in a 1.066 OPS and 26 doubles and the power is ever-present. Will Martinez carry out this with Boston?
Health plays into any baseball equation and Martinez has had difficulties staying on the field for the full slate. Maybe spending some time at DH will help mitigate that? And DH brings us to the question of defense. Martinez has expressed a desire to have some positional time, and there is where you may have some difficulties.
Last season Martinez played 945.2 innings in the outfield – all in right field. Right in Boston is a challenge for above average defenders and Martinez is a mediocre one. In 2017 Martinez had a -5 in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and -14.8 UZR/150 and both were an improvement over the previous season.
If the Red Sox win the division for a third straight year and Martinez is the catalyst his MVP chances dramatically improve. Hitting tends to blank out defensive shortcomings unless it is a Butch Hobson or Dick Stuart. Martinez is certainly not in that category.