There was some handwringing over the possibility that J.D. Martinez’s launch-angle-focused swing might not perform well at Fenway Park when the Boston Red Sox went out and got the slugger during the offseason. Those hands are mostly idle now, as Martinez has devilishly made the Green Monster and spots adjacent into his own workshop.
He hit his Major League-leading 20th home run of the season last night in a victory over the Detroit Tigers. He also leads the AL in RBI (52) and total bases (147). His slash is a fat and juicy .318/.377/.659.
Martinez can hit for average and power in every ballpark. But there’s something about Fenway that transforms him into an unstoppable force. He’s homered in six of his last seven games in Boston, and 10 of his last 14. And there’s no signs of slowing down.
This year he’s stroked 13 homers in 108 home at-bats while posting a 1.206 OPS. Among active players with at least 100 at-bats there, Martinez is the career leader in OPS.
Since last year’s All-Star break, Martinez has blasted 51 longballs, collected 124 RBIs and amassed a .707 slugging percentage. In a lineup full of stars, he may be the most dangerous one. Especially at home. Especially against lefthanders.
He may be the best free-agent signing since Manny Ramirez, even if he lacked the name recognition others came to town touting. The matchmaking has been heavenly and this is the honeymoon stage. The Red Sox are hoping the magic stays alive through October.