J.D. Martinez quietly became one of the best hitters in baseball a few years ago. The secret’s out now as the outfielder is putting together an MVP-caliber season for the unstoppable Boston Red Sox. With three weeks of play left, he’s in position to capture the American League Triple Crown — a feat done only six times. He also has a chance to lead the majors in all three categories. That hasn’t been done since 1956, when Mickey Mantle accomplished the feat.
Martinez leads the AL in RBI and trails Oakland’s Khris Davis by one home run. He’s barely behind teammate Mookie Betts in batting average.
Fenway Park has provided a plentiful feast of production for Martinez, who has a swing perfectly tailored to the stadium’s quirks. He serves as the most fearsome bat in a fearsome lineup. Everything has gone according to plan.
But did anyone truly think it would go this well? There are healthy expectations and then there is doing something no one’s accomplished in six decades.