Detroit Tigers Player Profile: J.D. Martinez
Detroit Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez is ready to show the world that he’s arrived.
I’ll be the first to admit it: When J.D. Martinez got off to a bit of a slow start in 2015, I started thinking that his out of the blue 2014 season was nothing but a flash in the pan. There was little hope from me that he could turn it around considering that he was a little-wanted player cast off from a Houston Astros organization that was consistently finishing in last place.
Well, I was wrong.
Martinez got off the snide and put up even better numbers when 2015 was all said and done. The greatest Tigers minor league signing of all-time went on to post 38 home runs and 102 RBIs. This offseason, the Tigers rewarded him with a 2-year deal worth $18.5 million. That’s a big raise for Martinez and a great value for the Tigers.
With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility
I may be in the minority here, but I don’t see a whole lot more than 30-35 home runs this season for Miguel Cabrera. Now, of course, that’s not a number to scoff at, but I feel Miggy’s is the best doubles hitter in baseball. As he gets older, the ability to drive the ball over Comerica Park’s deep walls will become increasingly more difficult.
That’s why Martinez is the Tigers’ biggest power threat this season. There’s going to be a lot of singles and doubles off the bat of Cabrera, and Victor Martinez is going to be turning in a lot of singles. Batting behind those two, who should both hit over .300 (crossing fingers that Victor can shake off nagging lower body injuries in spring training), means J.D. is going to get a chance to drive in a whole lot of runs.
Honestly, the sky’s the limit for Martinez this season.
He’s part of a beefed up lineup with the addition of Justin Upton. If Victor can stay healthy, I see no reason why J.D. can’t drop 120 RBIs in 2016. The guys getting on base in front of him are going to set the plate and provide J.D. with plenty of opportunities.
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What will hurt J.D. is when the guys in front of him don’t get on base. Pitchers will obviously be more careful with a guy who has shown that he can consistently drive the ball to every part of the ballpark.
Watching J.D.’s growth over the past two years has been amazing. It will be interesting to see if he can continue to push the ceiling and tap into his enormous potential. J.D. has a chance this season to become one of the best rag to riches stories baseball has seen in quite some time.
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