In one weekend in mid-December, the Dodgers lost their team leader to the Red Sox but brought in another team leader from Boston to fill his spot on the roster. The loss of Justin Turner will sting LA fans for a long time, but JD Martinez brings some great things to the table for Los Angeles.
Martinez, like Turner, made a change to his swing after the 2013 season and turned himself into a superstar. The private hitting coach who helped Martinez back then is now the official hitting coach for the Dodgers, Robert Van Scoyoc, so this is a reunion for the two of them. Additionally, Martinez and Mookie Betts were teammates and great friends with the Red Sox.
Max Muncy talked with Dodgers Nation recently, and he went into detail about the great things he’s heard and how excited he is to be teammates with Martinez.
“Man, I’m very excited to get to start working with him. I’ve heard so many good things about him. I’ve heard just how much he can help other players. He loves to talk hitting. I know he’s close with Rob [Van Scoyoc] and Rob always talks about him. When you get a guy that you’ve heard nothing but great things about, you just get really excited.
“And on top of that, he’s a really good hitter. His numbers speak for themselves. And I just can’t wait to see how he goes about his routine. What he does on a daily basis, what he does in the cage, what he’s doing in BP — I can’t wait to watch that. When you have guys that are great hitters like that, there’s just so much you can pick up just by watching them. And I can’t wait to watch, and on top of that, just talk to him. Learn about his approach, how he approaches certain pitchers. Whether it’s a guy he feels comfortable with or a guy he doesn’t feel comfortable with. I can’t wait to get that in there.”
Martinez will be a different kind of clubhouse presence than Turner was, but it’s clear the Dodgers aren’t weakening their atmosphere by bringing in Martinez. The Athletic did a piece last summer about the impact JD had on Boston’s hitters:
But even in those dry spells when he hasn’t quite hit as much as expected, the greater impact of Martinez’s tenure has been his effect on the culture of hitting within the Red Sox clubhouse. From Betts to Rafael Devers to Trevor Story, Martinez has been a never-ending fount of knowledge and conversation-starter on mechanics, game planning and offensive approach. Some of his own methods and drills are unique, and he recognizes they’re not for everyone. He’s not looking for converts. There’s a broader culture to consider, and Martinez is at the center of it with open arms, open eyes, and an open mind.
That’s what the Dodgers got in Martinez, and that’s what Muncy is so excited about.
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