Will 2020 be the year J.D. Martinez claims the home-run throne?

MLB.com’s Will Leitch named the Boston Red Sox designated hitter as the most team’s top contender to lead the American League in home runs this season. Martinez has been one of Major League Baseball’s most feared sluggers for five-plus seasons and also has two Silver Slugger awards on his resume, so it didn’t take a leap of faith for Leitch to predict a home-run title might be in his future.

“Martinez, somehow, has never led his league in home runs, but he topped 40 in two of the last three years,” Leitch writes.

Martinez led the Red Sox in home runs each of the last two seasons. However, his 43 round-trippers in 2018 was second in the AL behind the Oakland Athletics’ Khris Davis, who hit 48 that season. Martinez’s 36 home runs in 2019 were tied for seventh-most in the AL, but well behind home-run champ Jorge Soler of the Kansas City Royals.

Martinez opted into his Red Sox contract in November, instead of entering free agency, and Boston undoubtedly is excited about what he’ll produce in the middle of the batting order in 2020. If he’s anything as good as he has been in recent years, he’ll be among the contenders for home-run supremacy in the AL.

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