Boston Red Sox: Five things we learned from Spring Training 2021
Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez can still hit
One of the biggest questions hanging over the Red Sox entering camp this spring was how J.D. Martinez would bounce back from a disastrous season. The veteran designated hitter was one of the worst players in baseball in 2020, hitting a miserable .213 with a .680 OPS.
Was it a mechanical issue with his swing? Was he thrown off by the revised schedule form the pandemic-delayed season? Did the lack of access to video during games prevent him from making the proper adjustments? Or was age starting to catch up with him? Maybe it was all of the above.
Martinez came to camp eager to prove his doubters wrong. While he got off to a slow start that had many worrying last year’s slump was carrying over to 2021, his strong finish should ease those concerns.
It took Martinez some time to implement the adjustments he made based on issues with his swing that he identified over the offseason. He was hitting .237/.286/.289 in his first 38 at-bats before finally showing signs of turning a corner with about a week left in camp.
Martinez finished spring training hitting a respectable .286 with a .749 OPS. He led the team with 16 hits and tied for fourth with 10 RBI. He only tallied one home run but Martinez has never been one to rack up homers in exhibition games.
The Red Sox can’t necessarily assume they are getting the peak MVP-caliber version of Martinez but it’s clear that he’s figured some things out with his swing. This isn’t the same guy who looked lost at the plate during a season-long funk a year ago. Martinez didn’t forget how to hit and he’s going to return to being a threat in the middle of this lineup.