Detroit Tigers: J.D. Martinez is Posting Elite Numbers
Detroit Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez is having an outstanding season so far. Despite missing time due to injury, the outfielder is posting elite numbers at his position.
Detroit Tigers fans have long been witness to excellent offensive players. From Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, there have certainly been some standout offensive players to don Detroit’s uniform.
As of the last few seasons, outfielder J.D. Martinez seems to be working his way into that group.
Signed as a free agent after three seasons in Houston, the 29-year-old has thrived in Detroit. Since joining the Tigers as a free agent, he’s done nothing but produce.
In 123 games in 2014, the outfielder crushed 30 doubles and 23 home runs while plating 76 runs. He also hit .315 while posting a robust .912 OPS.
Martinez continued to produce in 2015, his first full season with the Tigers. In 158 games, the player earned All-Star and Silver Slugger honors for the first time, as well as finishing 15th in MVP voting.
The likes of Mookie Betts, Chris Sale, Michael Brantly and Carlos Correa all finished below Martinez in the voting, and it’s easy to see why.
Over the course of 158 games, the right fielder hit .282 with 33 doubles, 38 home runs and 102 RBI. His OPS sat at .879. From 2014 to 2015, Martinez accumulated an outstanding 9.2 WAR.
This season, the Detroit slugger has, despite missing some time on the disabled list, continued to improve. His .319 batting average is second only to Cameron Maybin on Detroit’s roster, while his .966 OPS paces the team.
2016 Numbers in Context
What’s more, Martinez has added 50 RBI, 50 runs scored, 26 doubles, 18 home runs, two triples and a stolen base in just 83 games. He’s been particularly effective in August. Since the month began, the Tigers outfielder is hitting .441 with a 1.295 OPS. He collected 14 runs scored, 11 RBI, seven doubles, six home runs and six walks in just 18 games.
More from Detroit Tigers News
- Detroit Tigers: Victor Reyes finding ways to get the job done
- The Detroit Tigers must cut their losses and release Jonathan Schoop
- Detroit Tigers: Garrett Hill’s new role and changed delivery are excellent
- Detroit Tigers: Joe Jiménez has rebounded in 2022
- Detroit Tigers: Is it finally time to move the fences in at Comerica Park?
Not only has the former Astro been one of the best players on payroll for the Detroit Tigers this season, he’s also been one of the best at his position in the league.
Per FanGraphs’ leaderboards, of all outfielders with at least 350 plate appearances, Martinez is outperforming the league’s elite. Obviously because of his injury, his home run and RBI numbers aren’t close to the league leaders. However, the Tigers outfielder makes up for it in other categories.
At a position that is also played by the likes of Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts, Carlos Gonzalez, Giancarlo Stanton and Mark Trumbo, Martinez may be having the best season.
Only Harper has a higher on-base percentage than the Detroit hitter, and the Nationals right fielder isn’t leading by much. Harper’s on-base percentage sits at .385, while Martinez’ is .384. Additionally, only Trumbo and Jay Bruce have posted higher ISO (isolated power) numbers than the Detroit outfielder.
Those are two of the few instances where J.D. Martinez isn’t leading all right fielders in a statistical category.
Leading the Way
Of all right fielders with at least 350 at-bats, Martinez leads the way in batting average (.319), slugging percentage (.581), wOBA (.404) and wRC+ (156). The slugging percentage and wRC+ are particularly noteworthy considering how far behind the rest of the field is.
The closest competitor in terms of slugging percentage to Martinez is Betts, who’s .557 numbers is a ways off the Tigers outfielder’s .581 stat. What’s more, Nelson Cruz is the only player even close to Martinez’ 156 wRC+ at 148. After Cruz, the next best is Betts at 138.
His WAR is only 11th-best in the league at 1.9, but that’s really the only blemish on the stat sheet. Still, in comparatively limited action, Martinez owns a higher WAR than the likes of Trumbo, Stanton, Jason Heyward and Jose Bautista.
Should he continue to produce at a high level—which at this point, it’s probably safe to say he will—Martinez’ WAR will continue to grow.
It is unfortunate that the 29-year-old got hurt, because he could potentially be an MVP candidate had he posted these kinds of numbers all season.
Next: Justin Verlander Could Win Another Cy Young
With Martinez producing at an elite rate, the Detroit Tigers have an excellent chance to climb back into the playoff race, especially with the rest of the offense starting to turn things around.