By Austin Carneiro
After the retirement of David Ortiz, the Red Sox have been playing without a home run hitting threat in the middle of the lineup. In the 2017 season they placed second to last in team home runs. However; they have still been a successful team with this recent lack of power in the lineup with back to back division championships, yet they have only won one playoff game.
During this offseason the Red Sox are looking to take the next step to becoming a true contender for the World Series Title. The signing of a true power threat that could anchor their lineup and intimidate opposing pitchers. That man is J.D. Martinez. He boasted an impressive 45 home runs in just 119 games last year. To put that in perspective the home run leader, Giancarlo Stanton, hit 59 home runs in 159 games. The Sox have signed him to a 5 year, $110 million contract and are waiting to finalize it after J.D.’s physical. This is the type of player that the Red Sox need to get them over the hump. He may not be the “big star” name or have that “sex appeal” to the fans that most franchises need, but he has quietly been a top hitter in the M.L.B. the past few seasons.
To fully comprehend the talent that is J.D. Martinez, an in depth analysis of his recent stats must be done. Over the course of the past four seasons, he hit over .300 three times, which is an all-star caliber batting average. In comparison to the Nation League M.V.P. (most valuable player, Giancarlo Stanton) from last year, Martinez had a higher slugging percentage (total bases/at bats), batting average, and OPS (on base percentage + slugging percentage). All of these stats are critical when determining how valuable and talented a hitter is during the season. And he did this in 40 games less than the M.V.P. due to injury. The Red Sox had other options before offering J.D. Martine this hefty long term deal.
Giancarlo Stanton was rumored that he might have been traded to Boston at the beginning of the off season. This had Boston fans salivating over the possibility of Stanton smashing home runs at Fenway Park, which is arguably one of the best parks for righty power hitters. But when he was traded to New York, the Red Sox’s biggest rival, Red Sox fans were not only crushed but angered by the deal. Many thought Stanton was the Sox’s saving grace and he was going to lead them down the road to a championship. Now that Stanton belongs to the Yankees, Martinez seems to be the Sox’s only hope in their effort of finding that power hitting anchor for their lineup. To the casual fan Stanton seems to be twice as good as Martinez, but over the course of the past three seasons Martinez has a higher average, on base percentage, and roughly 200 more at bats as well. Martinez may not be the reigning M.V.P. but he certainly is an elite hitter in the league and he has the numbers to show for it.
This season is going to be filled with excitement and fans are hoping for a resurgence of the Bew York Boston rivalry with the new additions of power to both teams. It is going to be a heated race for the division title as both teams look to compete for the next World Series title.