Baseball isn’t played on paper, but in the offseason, the “on-paper” projections are all we have. This is the fifth installment in our series looking at the projections for key members of the 2023 Dodgers. We’ve done Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Will Smith; now it’s time to take a look at new Dodger J.D. Martinez.
Here are the expected stat lines for Martinez from three projection systems: RotoChamps, Steamer, and Marcels (in the format of AVG/OBP/SLG HR RBI R).
RotoChamps: .275/.344/.473 21 78 81
Steamer: .251/.317/.434 21 74 67
Marcels: .262/.327/.448 18 67 69
Marcels and Steamer both seem to think Martinez’s down year in 2022 was the start of a steep decline rather than an anomaly. His OPS last year was .790, and those two have him at .776 and .751, respectively.
Martinez has been an excellent hitter since he changed his swing before the 2014 season, and even in last year’s down year, his OPS+ was 117. The Dodgers certainly signed him hoping for more than a 117 OPS+, something closer to the 152 he posted from 2014-19 or even the 128 he had in 2021.
RotoChamps actually projects Martinez to be very similar in 2023 to what he was in 2022 except with a few more homers, which is reasonable. But both Marcels and Steamer have his batting average and OBP taking a steep dive even from their decreased 2022 levels.
Martinez is being reunited with Robert Van Scoyoc, the coach who helped turn him into a superstar back in 2013-14, and Mookie Betts, his close friend from their time in Boston. Will that be enough to turn around the “decline” or whatever 2022 was?
Honestly, it’s hard to tell. All we can do is guess at this point, but LA obviously saw something in Martinez that made them think he could turn it around, and they’re generally pretty good at their jobs. I can’t confidently say the projections are wrong, but there’s plenty of reason to hope they are.
We’ve been doing a series of 2022 reviews for different Dodgers players in which we include highlight videos; since Martinez wasn’t a Dodger last year, we’ll use this excuse to share some JD highlights from last year.
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