However, he had an abysmal 2020.
Don't let 2020 distract you from the fact that JD Martinez forgot how to hit:
.213/.291/.389 (.680 OPS)
-1 fWAR https://t.co/lmrN9kNasS
— Emily Nyman (@EmSheDoesIt) September 28, 2020
He struggled to put anything together, seeing major steps back with his stats.
While it was a shortened season due to COVID-19, Martinez posted just a .213 batting average with only seven home runs.
The most alarming number was his slugging percentage (SLG).
This measures the number of total bases a batter earns divided by the total number of at-bats.
It is generally a good indicator of a player’s ability to hit for power.
In Martinez’s five seasons prior to 2020, his lowest SLG was .557 in 2019.
However, it was just .389 in 2020.
This is a staggering drop-off that is a cause for concern among Red Sox fans.
There may be a way to explain this though, suggesting that this may just be a small blip on the radar.
The Impact Of COVID-19
The pandemic had obvious impacts on the structure and look of the MLB season.
Of course, the most obvious was the shortened 60 game season and the absence of fans.
However, there were a lot of “behind the scenes” changes that many fans didn’t see.
For someone like Martinez who is a very technical hitter, this may have made a big impact.
One such change was with video replay rooms.
Players were limited in their access to the use of these areas, along with other technology that had previously been available to them.
Martinez’s use of these tools is notable, as he is known for having used technology to study and analyze his swing.
He also relies dearly on routine, which is something that completely changed for this season.
“He was building a new routine and with a shortened season and how things add up, yes, it’s going to knock his confidence down and he starts to have doubt,” Hyers said. “I think that’s [what] some of the mechanical flaw is: I’m trying to his it a little father.”
The combination of these may have made Martinez stumble out of the gate and never regain his footing.
Natural Decline for Martinez?
While some of the struggles may be attributed to these changes, the overall decrease in production is concerning.
Martinez is an aging, 33-year-old slugger who already isn’t able to play the field well.
Some of this decline may just be natural for him.
starting in 2019 JD Martinez began a drop from 90th percentile Max Exit Velo to Lg Avg
charting his 400 batted ball rolling Avgs from 2015-20 for
Max Exit Velo
you see the drop in wOAcon & xwOBAcon coincides w the drop in Max Exit Velocity 1/ pic.twitter.com/y0OktNNE3N
— Anthony Shattell (@soxmoneyball) November 15, 2020
He is in the twilight of his prime, looking to cling to the production he has had in the past five seasons.
Because of this, 2021 will be an important season to see where Martinez stands.
With some details emerging about next season, it is clear that it likely won’t be completely back to normal.
There will still be some changes that players will have to endure, at least until a vaccine is readily available.
That being said, can Martinez bounce back for 2021?
Yes, it wouldn’t be surprising if he was able to somewhat return to form this season.
His 2020 stats were such an anomaly for his career that it would be wrong to think otherwise.
After all, he is just two years removed from this:
— Daren Willman (@darenw) September 26, 2018
He will be coming into 2021 with a fresh slate, with the knowledge of what went wrong last year to boost him.
A return to form shouldn’t be surprising because of this.
In a full season, don’t be surprised if Martinez is able to put up around 30 home runs with a .300 batting average once again.