The Red Sox found a free agent gem in J.D. Martinez. This is one signing where the player exceeded expectations and the comparisons will continue with Giancarlo Stanton.
Did the Red Sox make the right choice? Historic evidence is that Stanton was a sought-after commodity by the Red Sox but Boston was never willing to part with the expected transaction chips, nor was Stanton interested in The Athens of America – at least on the surface.
Stanton and Martinez both have one notable quality the Red Sox organization has longed for – right-handed power. Ever since Tom Yawkey shipped out money for Jimmie Foxx that big bat by a noted slugger to take full advantage of Fenway Park. Just think Manny Ramirez and now think Martinez.
More from BoSox Injection
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Why Red Sox fans should be rooting for Carlos Correa’s Mets deal to go through
Stanton has an exorbitant contract and so does the freshly signed Martinez. For Martinez, it is less than a burden since Stanton’s contract runs to 2028 and Martinez – if he chooses to opt-out – ends after the 2019 season. Boston also didn’t give up players or a draft pick for Stanton so the acquisition process is a clear “win” for Boston. Then comes the hitting.
Stanton may be a better power hitter, but not a better hitter. Martinez in the last five seasons is above .300 on average. Stanton has never hit .300 nor will he this season. But back to power. Stanton is certainly home run sexy with 59 last season to lead the National League. A rate of a home run every 11.7 plate appearances. A staggering figure until you realize that in 2017 Martinez clubbed one yard every 10.9 plate appearances.
This season both have hit as expected or at least hoped for. Stanton is producing and Stanton is whiffing with a 28.7 K%. So is Martinez 23.6 K%. You can delve into assorted traditional statistics and metrics and see that both players are quite close in various categories. I will avoid that I concentrate on the one significant point and that is lineup impact.
The Red Sox were a run-producing desert in 2017 with a notable dead last in American League home runs. They could score, but not in the historical quantities Red Sox fans had become accustomed to seeing. David Ortiz was missed and needed to be replaced.
Martinez has energized the Red Sox lineup. Was it Martinez that ignited the rebirth? Not necessarily, but his impact cannot be minimized. This is a power hitter with average and that is a distinct difference between Stanton and Martinez and even Aaron Judge since I am tossing about Yankee names.
Stanton and Martinez will be compared as long as they stay with New York and Boston, but the early results show the Red Sox made the right choice.