Fantasy Baseball: J.D. Martinez signs with the Red Sox

JD Martinez

After what feels like months of rumours the inevitable finally happened and J.D. Martinez has signed with the Boston Red Sox. In real terms this launches the Red Sox back into the discussion for the AL East and sets up a wonderful back and forth with the powerful Yankees and perhaps even a mouth-watering ALCS series is now in the pipeline. In fantasy terms there are a ton of ramifications not just for J.D. Martinez himself but for his team mates as well.

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Starting with Martinez, currently he is slated to play DH and bat 3rd for the Red Sox which is the ultimate hell yeah for his fantasy owners. He gets the peak part of that line-up to hit in and suddenly we can predict 145 games for Martinez rather than 130 because not playing the field should be great for his health. At worst I think he plays some time at first base when Mitch Moreland makes way for Hanley Ramirez in that platoon but with the super-utility guys of Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt on the team there should be no need for him to go out to the outfield. This means we are looking at a player who has been regularly successful despite previously only having 600+ plate appearances in a season once in his career having the opportunity to be a regular everyday player. Last time he had had 600+ plate appearances he hit 38 home runs with 93 runs 102 RBI and a 0.282 batting average and last year he hit 45 home runs in just 489 plate appearances.

Now the downside, Boston is a good hitters park but it isn’t pre-humidor Chase Field so the crazy numbers we saw last year might be hard to repeat. However, Boston is a better hitters park than Detroit and he successful in that park as well. The other thing to watch out for is Martinez’s even year curse; in 2015 and 2017 he hit 38 and 45 home runs respectively, in 2014 and 2016 he managed just 23 and 22. Now both of those seasons came with reduced playing time, although so did 2017, so it might be that the home run dip was a case of trying to play through injury in those two years and that should be negated by where he is playing this year. A last downside for keeper and dynasty owners of Martinez is that he could lose outfield eligibility after this year and may in a worst case scenario only be DH eligible in 2019 and perhaps beyond.

To finish with some projections for J.D. Martinez; projecting him for 145 games gives him 630ish PAs and a projected stat line of 37 home runs, 85 runs and 95 RBI with a 0.290 batting average (I actually think recent form suggests he could hit 0.300 but I am baking in a little regression to his earlier career numbers). These projections will ultimately leave him easily within the top 10 outfielders in both formats thanks to the increased projections in games played versus what he would have had playing the outfield.

Now let’s take a look at how this move affects his teammates:

Hanley Ramirez and Mookie Betts

David Tulis – UPI

Hanley Ramirez

Ramirez is now on the weak side of a platoon with Mitch Moreland following this signing. Already DH-only on ESPN he has become essentially undraftable in all but the deepest format. An injury would make him a solid in season pick up but he wasn’t exactly successful in 2017.

Eduardo Nunez

Prior to this signing Nunez was projected to bat second by Roster Resource. Following the signing he drops to 7th which has a big impact on his runs and RBI. Still a solid later draft options who can offer power and speed but with playing time already an issue when Pedroia returns this is another dent for his prospective owners.

Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts

Both move up a spot in the projected line-up thanks to Nunez shifting down so they should see a small runs and RBI boost but nothing to really change their value.

Andrew Benintendi

Moves from projected third spot to projected second add some runs and takes away some RBI. The change is likely to be insignificant in the total amount but if you are drafting him be sure that you need to account for a handful less runs but a handful more RBI elsewhere.

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