Boston Red Sox 2021 Player Profile: J.D. Martinez

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The Syndicate's Red Sox Writers and Red Sox Podcast to be Named Later hosts will be profiling a different Red Sox player each day to get you ready for the 2021 season.

Today's featured player: J.D. Martinez  

Photo courtesy of abc13.com

The Boston designated hitter has been as steady and reliable as hitters come, but struggled mightily in the 2020 campaign.  With a full offseason to get healthy and fix some swing flaws, can he return to form this year?

Back of the baseball card:

  • Position: Outfield/Designated Hitter
  • Age: 33
  • Bats: Right / Throws: Right
  • Height: 6-3 / Weight: 230 lbs.
  • Nickname: Flaco
  • How acquired: Signed in free agency in 2018
  • Contract status: Signed through 2022
2020 Season

There was a lot that went wrong for Martinez in 2020.  He posted a .213/.291/.389 line with 7 HR and a 77 wRC+ in 54 games.  He ranked lower than his 2019 ranking in just about every Statcast category, with the most notable drops coming in exit velocity and xwOBA.  Along with these decreases and the poor ratios, J.D. also posted his lowest ISO (isolated power) since 2013.  Fortunately, there are a couple encouraging numbers that point toward a bounce-back.


2021 Outlook

One of the first numbers that sticks out is the BABIP.  His .259 BABIP was .082 worse than his career average of .341, making this one spot that should definitely improve in 2021.  Another point that seems destined to come back up is J.D.'s HR/FB rate, which was 13% worse than 2019 and 10.3% worse than his career average.  Lastly, Martinez was near his norms in all the plate discipline stats found on Fangraphs, making it even easier to see his average coming back up this year.  The Red Sox are of course hoping that a full 2021 season sees J.D.'s numbers return to average and that a more "normal" season, when combined with a clean bill of health, results in some of his power returning.  With a guy who had been so consistent, my money is on a strong 2021 season for Martinez.  While the power may not return to what it has been, he should still be good for 25+ dingers and a high batting average as a key piece of an outstanding Red Sox offense.


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Boston Sports Syndicate: Boston Red Sox 2021 Player Profile: J.D. Martinez
Boston Red Sox 2021 Player Profile: J.D. Martinez
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