The Boston Red Sox won a World Series title and 119 games in the process, the second most all-time among World Series winners. But they’re not done making history.
J.D. Martinez, whom the Red Sox signed for a relative bargain in the offseason, on Friday became the first major leaguer to win two Silver Slugger awards in the same season. The honor is bestowed upon the best hitter at each position in either league. Martinez won as both an outfielder and designated hitter.
Martinez hit a career best .330 with a .402 on-base percentage. He slugged 43 home runs — two off his regular season best — drove in 130 runs and finished with 188 hits.
Boston Manager Alex Cora started Martinez at designated hitter 93 times and in the outfield for 57 games, 32 times in left field and 25 in right.
Before joining the Red Sox, Martinez, 31, was considered a better-than-average hitter and decent fielder. He’d only been an all-star once, in 2015 while playing for Detroit. In Boston, he joined a crowded outfield. Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts in left and right field are cornerstones of the franchise’s future, both offensively and defensively. Jackie Bradley Jr. is an all-star and Gold Glove defender in center field. Utility man Brock Holt also features into the rotation.
But since the retirement of David Ortiz in 2016, the Red Sox have struggled to find a permanent solution at designated hitter. They parted ways with Hanley Ramirez in May after an 0-for-20 spell. Luckily for Boston, Martinez stepped in and provided historical production from the right side of the plate.
His marks for runs batted in and hits were career bests. His batting average jumped nearly 30 points and his on-base percentage spiked nearly 40 points.
It’s unusual for players to even get votes — managers and coaches decide the award — at more than one position. Nelson Cruz got votes as an outfielder when he won a 2017 Silver Slugger at DH. Edwin Encarnacion received votes at first base and designated hitter in 2015, 2016 and 2017, but didn’t win at either position any of those years.
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