Boston Red Sox: Five things for fans to look forward to in 2020
By Drew Athans
The first thing that popped into my head when I started thinking about this list was JD Martinez, and in particular, watching him hit. Let’s be honest, he’s a poor outfielder and the less he plays in the field, the better.
As a hitter, though, he has few peers. The 2017 Red Sox suffered from missing a big bat in the heart of the order after David Ortiz retired following the 2016 season. One of the best moves the team made in recent history was signing Martinez to fill that hole.
JD’s story is well known: he came up with the Houston Astros and was released early in his career when he struggled to hit. Martinez used that as motivation to tear down, rebuild, and hone his swing, becoming an obsessive student of hitting in the mold of Ted Williams.
After stints with the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks, the Red Sox signed Martinez as a free agent prior to the 2018 season and he instantly showed his worth in a monster debut season in Boston.
After flirting with the Triple Crown all season, JD finished 2018 with a .330 average, 43 home runs, 130 RBI (which led the league), a .402 OBP, and an OPS of 1.031. He followed that with a slightly down year in 2019, but still finished with a .304 average, 36 home runs, 105 RBI, a .383 OBP and an OPS of .939 while battling nagging back issues all season.
Watching JD Martinez hit is like watching a master work at his craft. It’s been one of the most enjoyable things about the Red Sox over the last two seasons. There’s no reason to doubt that he’s won’t have another productive season which is something I’m really looking forward to seeing.