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Still Talented: Don't Fade J.D. Martinez Yet

Despite some metrics showing a J.D. Martinez slowdown, SI Fantasy guru Shawn Childs points out what's still working very well

The Boston Red Sox still have one of the better hitting lineups in fantasy baseball. Thanks to that, even with a noted decline affecting his stats, Martinez is still among the game’s best. So don't fade him just yet. His contact numbers are formidable.

Based on 2017 and 2018, Martinez was ultimately overpriced in 2019 due to regression across the board in his stats. That said, he still hit over .300 for the fourth straight season while maintaining a very high contact batting average (.400). Boston’s batting order ahead and behind him led to fewer RBI chances (410 – 440 in 2018) and a decline in his run rate (40) for the second straight year.

He crushed lefties (.404 with 19 HRs and 40 RBI over 141 at-bats). Despite Fenway being good for hitters, surprisingly, Martinez hit better on the road (.333 with 18 HRs and 62 RBI over 294 at-bats) than at home (.274 with 18 HRs and 48 RBI over 316 at-bats). August was his best hitting month (.394 with 10 HRs and 29 RBI), then he struggled in September (.228 with three HRs and 13 RBI).

A high strikeout rate (21.0) was a career-worst. That was a surprise as well considering his highest level in walks (11.0 percent). Martinez’s strength is in his HR/FB rate (23.4), but even that is trending down from the highs he enjoyed just a few seasons ago (33.8 in 2017 and 29.5 in 2018). His swing did have more loft in 2015 (fly ball rate – 43.5) and 2017 (43.2).

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While he is not the elite bat of a few years ago, you can expect above-average totals thanks to the lineup around him and his strong contact (.300/40/120). He is losing some value in drafts (ADP – 23). In 2019, Martinez was the 23rd-ranked hitter by SIscore (third in 2018). You can expect most players to overestimate his decline here and maybe find a sneaky value in the early third round.

READ MORE: 2020 Boston Red Sox Team Preview