Detroit Tigers: Congratulations to J.D. Martinez

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The Detroit Tigers Tiger of the Year award list of recipients reads like a who’s who of Detroit baseball players. Men like Al Kaline, Miguel Cabrera, Denny McLain, Willie Horton, and Alan Trammell are a few of the names that have graced the list since the award was first given out in 1965. Several of the players, like Kaline, Cabrera, Ron LeFlore, Justin Verlander, Travis Fryman, and Cecil Fielder received it more than once. Today, another Tiger was added to the list for his outstanding 2015 season: J.D. Martinez.

This award is given by the Detroit chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Each member is able to give out one first-place vote. Of the 22, Cabrera earned two, Ian Kinsler one, and J.D. Martinez earned the other 19.

May 31, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) is congratulated after scoring a run in the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

J.D. Martinez has proved to be one of the most surprising players signed this decade. Prior to joining the Tigers, he was limping along in Houston moving back and forth between the minors and the majors. The move to Detroit completely changed the way that he played. He began to dominate the plate and ended 2014 with a .315 BA and 23 home runs, a shocking distance away from the .250 with 7 home runs he hit in 2013 in Houston.

Then 2015 happened. His performance was recognized so received an invite to his first (and well-deserved) All-Star game. Despite his batting average taking a bit of a dip to .282, he knocked in 38 home runs as well as 102 RBIs and was in the top ten home runs list for the majority of the season. He did have a little slump in the early spring; but, he recovered quickly and commanded the plate to post an .879 OPS.

His work as a hitter was not the only place he dominated. Martinez surprised all of the critics and fans by his work in right field. He performed so well that he was nominated for a Gold Glove (losing to Kole Calhoun with the LA Angels). He committed a total of two errors at his position in his 282 chances.

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Not only is he a performer who brings excitement to the game; but, he is also a man devoted to his team and his fans. He is frequently seen signing autographs for the kids who have made him their favorite Tiger player. His effort to engage his young fans is highly appreciated by his adult fans. He is a Tiger that young fans can look up to because of his character and work ethic. Even his walk-up song shows how hard he works as “Everyday I’m Hustlin'” is played through the loud speaker as he approaches home plate.

The Detroit Tigers are fortunate to have him and Al Avila should do everything he can to keep this treasure on the roster. J.D. Martinez has cemented himself as a Detroit Tiger who is in it to win. Congratulations, Mr. Martinez.