5 Offensive Difference Makers for 2015 Detroit Tigers
By Matt Pelc
Sep 15, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder J.D. Martinez (28) hits a RBI single in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
1. J.D. Martinez
Combing through many Detroit Tigers offseason articles and fans posts on Twitter, one of the most worrying elements of the upcoming season is not the health of V-Mart and Miggy, not the starting rotation which has certainly regressed, and not the bullpen which is always a concern. The chief concern is J.D. Martinez.
Why the concern for a player who had a magical, career year in 2014?
It’s simple: it might be too good to be true.
We’ve seen it before in sports, even here in Detroit with the Tigers. Brennan Boesch comes to mind–a player that had a terrific year and seemed destined for stardom but ultimately could only find it that one year.
Martinez was buried in the depth chart of a bad Houston Astros team for so long, but he didn’t do himself any favors to garner playing time there. Coming here seemed to rejuvenate his career, however.
He finished the season with a .315 average, which is astonishing considering his career batting average through his first three seasons was .255. He launched 23 homers, many of them in very clutch situations, and finished with an OPS of .912.
Throughout the offseason, J.D. Mart has been one of my lesser concerns because when I look at him, Jose Bautista comes to mind, a player that came out of nowhere to establish himself as a perennial premier hitter.
It would be tough to imagine that lineup last year without Martinez. It will be tough to imagine success for them this year with a return to “Houston” Martinez.
No one knows for sure, but signs point to him being just fine in 2015 and beyond.