J.D. Martinez is having an amazing season for the Tigers after beginning the year in the minor leagues. Since being called up in late April, Martinez is hitting .305/.347/.553 with 21 home runs and 69 RBI in 421 plate appearances. He recently busted out of a month-long cold streak and has all but cemented himself into the Tigers' plans for the 2015 season.
Martinez's performance is one of the reasons why the Tigers lead the AL Central by the slimmest of margins, just half a game heading into today's action. With no games remaining against opponents outside the division, performance against intra-division rivals is of the utmost importance at this point in the season. Luckily for the Tigers, Martinez has made a killing against the Central this season.
|Chicago White Sox||52||8||1||6||.319||.365||.511||.876|
|Kansas City Royals||48||10||5||15||.432||.438||.864||1.301|
Martinez has done the majority of his damage against the Indians and Royals, clubbing 11 of his 21 home runs in just over 25 percent of his plate appearances this season. He also has 33 RBI against the two teams in 27 games, more than Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Overall, he is hitting .374/.423/.788 in 111 plate appearances against the Tigers' closest competition.
Martinez's numbers against the White Sox and Twins aren't quite as gaudy, but still impressive. He is hitting above .300 against both teams, with 11 extra base hits in 88 plate appearances. His .494 slugging percentage against those two is below his season-long figure of .553, but would still rank 17th in all of baseball among qualified hitters. Adrian Beltre has a .494 slugging average this season.
Looking at his numbers on the whole, we can see that Martinez is in some lofty company. His .656 slugging average against the Central is higher than Miguel Cabrera's .636 slugging average last season. His 1.048 OPS would be the best in baseball by a wide margin, 76 points better than Victor Martinez's .972. He still isn't walking much -- just 12 base on balls, and one was intentional -- but there is no reason to complain with the results. If the Tigers win their fourth consecutive AL Central title, J.D. Martinez is one of the biggest reasons why.