Leandre: The J.D. Martinez Effect
Photo: AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Following a season in which the team finished dead-last in home runs, the Boston Red Sox are holding down second place in baseball in home runs with 92.
It was inevitable that Boston’s beloved baseball team would improve drastically in the home run department with the February acquisition of right-handed slugger, J.D. Martinez. However, to think that this lineup around him would be essentially the exact same as 2017’s team, minus Hanley Ramirez, makes this power resurgence that much more impressive.
Which makes you stop and wonder—how much of this season’s offensive success should be credited to Martinez’s presence in the lineup alone?
For instance, let’s take a look at the jump in power for a few key players in the Sox lineup.
Let’s start with Mitch Moreland, who came out of the gate scorching hot and simply hasn’t looked back yet. Some would even argue that he has played himself into All-Star game participant discussions. To this point in 2018, Moreland has hit 10 home runs, as opposed to just five in the 2017 season.
To name a couple more: Xander Bogaerts has jumped from just one homer in his first 44 games last year to nine in his first 44 games this season, and Mookie Betts has jumped from just seven home runs through his first 48 games last year to 17 this year.
While none of the aforementioned players protect Martinez, nor do they get immediately protected by him, the overall presence of Martinez alone has drastically increased the level of performance for Betts, Moreland, and Bogaerts so far in 2018. It’s almost as if there’s this sort of trickle-down effect that comes to the ballpark every night with Martinez, where if he goes 0-4 or 4-4, you just know that the rest of the lineup will respond positively, leading to an increase in success at the plate.
The pressure has been lifted off of the Red Sox lineup, and they have responded this season, as they are second in homers, fourth in on base percentage, first in slugging percentage and runs scored, and second in OPS. It’s not a mere coincidence, this has a lot to do with the slugger sporting No.28 for the Red Sox.