J.D. Martinez had a firm standing in the race for a potential American League triple crown in the 2018 Season for the Boston Red Sox.
J.D. Martinez finished his first full season in a Boston Red Sox uniform in 2018 as a potential candidate to win the Triple Crown. Martinez showed the organization and its fans that he was an incredible hitter that could do it all.
Before I get into my prediction on why I believe he can put up a similar type of performance in the 2019 season, first, let’s take a look at where the Red Sox slugger stood in the American League with regards to his numbers that he had put up in the Triple Crown race.
Martinez finished the 2018 campaign with 43 Home Runs, 130 RBI, and hit an average of .330. Just looking at his stats alone from last year tells us that he made a huge individual impact for the Red Sox offense.
However, when looking at his season stats, Martinez had a firm standing in the race for a potential American League Triple Crown. To see just how close he was, I wanted to look at the American League season leader totals to see where he ranked in the stats that counted towards acquiring the Triple Crown.
Martinez ranked second in the American league behind his teammate, Mookie Betts, in Batting Average by .16 points, he trailed only Khris Davis of the Oakland Athletics in home runs by five, and he led the league in RBI with 130.
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Martinez batted very well against both left and right-handed pitching. Though the number of times he faced right-handed (438 ABs) and left-handed (131 ABs) pitching varied greatly, Martinez produced just as well against both, hitting .329 against right-handed pitching and .336 against left-handed pitchers. The fact that Martinez was able to hit almost identically against right-handed pitchers as he did lefties tells us that Martinez has no problem using all parts of the plate to get on base.
Bat Speed is how he can make a run for the crown in 2019
According to Brooks Baseball, one telling stat from the last couple of seasons that makes a huge difference for Martinez and his swing is his whiff percentage against hard pitches (fastballs). In 2017, the season before he joined the Red Sox, Martinez’s whiff percentage against hard pitches was 12.5%. In 2018, in his first season with the Sox, Martinez’s whiff percentage against hard pitches dropped to 9.1%. This stat tells me that Martinez has plenty of bat speed left even at the age of 30. The whiff percentage drop from 2017 to 2018 is a hopeful sign that Martinez still has a lot left in the tank and can compete for batting titles.
Prediction For 2019
Martinez is in for another dominant season in 2019 for the Red Sox. I believe that Martinez could put up similar numbers in 2019 if he can face more left-handed pitching, play almost every day, and if he can keep his whiff percentage low against fastballs. I think the whiff percentage could be an underrated stat in looking at how he can fare in 2019. Because of the decrease in the number of fastballs that Martinez swung and missed at from 2017- 2018, it is an encouraging sign that he still has a quick bat.
I think that Martinez can hit .320 with 35 home runs and 115 RBI. With this being said, let’s see if he can make another run at the vaunted Triple Crown award.