In case you missed it, J.D. Martinez is still really good

Rob Bradford
April 22, 2019 - 9:14 am

First impressions were a powerful thing when it came to J.D. Martinez last season.

After 22 games it had become clear what the Red Sox' had in the middle of their lineup -- the kind of presence David Ortiz left behind two seasons before.

Martinez kicked off his Sox' career well enough, hitting .306 with a .916 OPS and five homers through April 26. He wasn't quite where he wanted to be, still hitting the ball on the ground 45 percent but it was far from a disappointing introduction. 

What we're seeing now -- through the same number of games -- is better. The team, not so much? But the player ...

Perhaps the perception isn't as powerful because of everyone else in this lineup. Until Mookie Betts' recent resurgence, and Mitch Moreland's first few weeks it was difficult to find bats besides Martinez that would make anyone dig into the weeds when it came to praising the Red Sox' offense. (Through 22 games last season Martrinez had the sixth-best batting average on the team.) That's fair. Nobody wants to hear how good somebody has been when it doesn't translate into wins.

But Martinez's existence should be noted because he is the one who has picked up where he left off.

The righty hitter has the sixth-best batting average in the American League (.350) to go along with four homers and a 1.003 OPS. He is putting the ball in the air far more than a year ago, carrying just a 38 percent ground ball percentage. The next highest batting average on the Red Sox is Andrew Benintendi (.282), with Moreland the other member of the batting order to carry an OPS north of .800.

He's striking out less and walking more while hitting the ball just as hard as a year ago. As presents, it's a positive picture so far:

Baseball Savant

Related: Is Christian Vazquez ready to become the catcher the Red Sox need?