Jul 30, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) hits a two run double during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
#3: J.D. Martinez
For years we talked about the scary specter of the Detroit Tigers future, but the aging core has quietly been replaced with exciting youngsters.
See the last entry on the dynamic Jose Iglesias, who was theoretically brought to Detroit as insurance for Jhonny Peralta‘s pending PED suspension in 2013. Yet it was clear Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers had no intentions of bringing back Peralta, suspension or not.
So they went out and got one of the best and most entertaining young shortstops in the game to hold down the fort at that position for the better part of a decade at least.
During that ensuing off-season, the Tigers tried to work out a deal with the Houston Astros to bring a young but underachieving slugger to the franchise in J.D. Martinez. An agreeable trade could not be worked out, but a few short months later Martinez fell in their laps free of charge.
Since Martinez came to the Tigers he has been perhaps the most consistent offensive player. Miguel Cabrera struggled with inconsistency through injuries last year and Victor Martinez has done the same this year. That has opened the door for teams to plan around J.D. Mart’s bat more than anyone else.
He is hitting for average, power and driving in runs. He hits homers, many in big spots to tie or win games.
Even when he is supposedly hobbled, like on Sunday, he does this:
J.D. Martinez is one of the big reasons to continue to watch the Tigers this season as he matures and gets even better.
Next: Once in a Generation Miggy