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Detroit Tigers’ J.D. Martinez has become team’s Jose Bautista

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When J.D. Martinez broke out last season, many people, including myself, were skeptical that he could maintain his level of play in 2015. Detroit Tigers fans have watched too many of their teams fall short of a World Series Championship, even when they were the best team and too many players show spurts of great play, followed by falling into the pit from the movie 300. Some Tigers fans expected J.D. Martinez to be the latest flash in the pan, but we were wrong as of right now: J.D. Martinez has become the Detroit Tigers’ Jose Bautista.

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As almost everyone knows by now, Martinez was cut by the Houston Astros before the 2014 season when he signed with the Tigers. He broke out last season to the tune of a .315/.358/.553 split with 23 home runs and 76 RBI in 123 games.

His breakout season drew comparisons to Jose Bautista, but also players like Chris Shelton and Brennan Boesch. I fell into the later camp. I watched Shelton burst onto the scene in 2005 and 2006 when he hit 10 home runs in April, but faded away. I watched Boesch hit .342/.397/.593 the first half of 2010 and .306/.360/.490 in the first half of 2011, but fall off the face of the planet in both of those second halves and beyond.

Instead of becoming another Brennan Boesch, J.D. Martinez has become the Detroit Tigers’ Jose Bautista. Bautista was traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008, and broke out in 2010. Since 2008, Bautista has averages a .265/.386/.537 split with years of 54, 43, 27, 28, and 35 home runs.

Since he has been with the Tigers, Martinez has averaged a .299/.348/.545 split with 23 home runs in 2014 and 19 home runs so far in 2015 for a pace of about 41 home runs. He is Jose Bautista with a better batting average, fewer walks, and comparable power. At the prime of Bautista’s career, he hit more home runs, while J.D. hit for more doubles. Bautista is the better defender with the better arm, but Martinez and the closes thing to Bautista since he came out of nowhere in 2010.

Once again, the question is can Martinez keep up the pace at which he is currently playing? Martinez has been a fairly streaky hitter, with his latest streak putting him back on pace with his 2014 numbers.

With the addition of Victor Martinez from the DL, J.D. has upped his game and made the middle of the Tigers order one of the scariest in baseball, Power hitters are especially streaky (unless your name is Miguel Cabrera), and the Tigers need Martinez to stay on the upswing to push toward the playoffs instead of going on a streak if the Tigers fall out of contention to pad his numbers.

Next: Tigers should focus on smart not flashy at trade deadline

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