Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez has been anything but himself in 2022.
The Red Sox designated hitter has been solid this season, but solid is not the standard that was set by Martinez over his first four seasons in Boston. The 35-year-old has 10 home runs this season through 110 games played, that is a 15 home run pace over 162 games — the lowest he has posted since 2013.
So what happened? Why is Martinez struggling to hit the long ball all of a sudden? Well, the man himself seems to have an answer.
“I’m not using my hips as I once was,” Martinez said, as transcribed by Christopher Smith of MassLive. “And it’s not that they don’t work. I can do them in drills. I can do them (in) everything. When I grab the bat with two hands, it’s been a grind. I’m able to still put some barrels on balls, produce. But getting that extra gear behind it hasn’t been there for me. It’s clear as day to me. I can see it as clear as I can see your shirt. But fixing it is a grind.
“But I know this offseason, if not this next month (it can be fixed). I’ve been grinding on it the last three weeks and it’s gotten better. So it’s just one of those things that I have to continue to work on. I know once I put my brain to something, I’ll fix it one way or the other.”
As Martinez said, he has still produced. The veteran has 36 doubles to lead the Red Sox this season, and ranks second on the team in walks drawn. His .275 batting average, .342 on-base percentage and .430 slugging percentage all rank within the top five for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox offense as a whole has been disappointing, but things are amplified for five-time All-Star’s like Martinez.