Last season, much to everyone’s surprise, J.D. Martinez burst on the scene with the Tigers having a career year. Martinez’s numbers were all career highs after being cut during Spring Training by the Houston Astros. Martinez had career stats of .251/.300/.387 with 24 home runs in 252 games and was projected for 2014 to have a stat line of .253/.303/.382. The Astros didn’t have the patience to wait and see if Martinez’s swing change would propel him into All Star status, so they released him on March 23, 2014. However, the Tigers scouts saw the potential in him and they picked up Martinez two days after being cut by the Astros.
Martinez started out the year in Triple A with the Mud Hens hitting 10 home runs over his first 17 games before getting a call up to the Tigers. He started out hot right off the bat and stayed that way the entire season. He was the MLB player of the week in June and Tigers player of the month for June. Over 123 games last season Martinez hit .315 with 23 home runs, 76 RBI’s and 30 doubles. The numbers he put up were a great compliment to a line up looking for another bat to help protect Victor Martinez. Pitchers knowing they now had to deal with Miguel Cabrera and two very dangerous Martinez’s gave the Tigers that lethal middle of the order they were lacking at seasons start.
This coming season Martinez is slated to be the starting Right Fielder for the Tigers. The team and fans hope that he can continue with the same success he had last year and not return to Astros form. The Tigers need Martinez to continue his career resurgence as they look to start the season without Cabrera and possibly without Victor Martinez. A major key to the teams early and season long success will depend on whether Martinez is going to be a one hit wonder or the real deal.