Boston Red Sox: J.D. Martinez not fazed by big market expectations

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 10: J.D. Martinez /

New Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez doesn’t appear to be fazed by playing in a large market like Boston.

Don’t expect J.D. Martinez take too many strikes when it comes to the pressure of playing in a place like Boston.  The new Boston Red Sox slugger, who made his Spring Training debut on Wednesday, went 0-for-2, but made a couple nice catches in the outfield.

With expectations flying high, Martinez is already showing to be a player who will block out all the noise and do him.  As many new players learn when playing in a city like Boston, that is something easier said than done.  It is also easier to do when the first pitch of the regular season has not been thrown and the team is far away from Fenway Park.

Still, Martinez appears to have the type of personality and focus to shield off pressure and not strike out when fastballs of criticism are thrown his way.

"“To me, I feel like you guys have the expectations, the fans and the media,” Martinez said following his Spring Training debut.  “I’m just going to go out there and play my game and do what I’ve been doing the last four or five years.  As far as the pressure and stuff goes, just try and go out there and try to play my game.  Obviously, ignore it.  Playing in Boston, it’s a big market and there’s going to be a lot more, but I think it will be a good test of handling it.”"

As long as J.D. Martinez puts up the numbers he has the last couple of seasons and don’t disappoint like a Pablo Sandoval, he will do well in Boston.

Given the structure of his contract, the expectations aren’t as high as he thinks they are.  Fans in particular, just want him to produce and give the team the power bat they have been missing since David Ortiz waved his hat goodbye to the game.

As far as the Boston media goes, expectations flow in whatever direction drives the story.

Yes, just keep being you J.D.

Martinez on defense

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The two catches J.D. Martinez made in his Spring Training debut was just a glimpse of the kind of defense he is capable of in the outfield.

If anyone thinks for one second this man is just going to DH for the Boston Red Sox, think twice.  A Gold Glove Award finalist in 2015, Martinez takes pride in his outfield play and wants to brush away the label that he is a bad defender.

In his view, it has to go beyond the analytics.

"“It’s all the analytics,” Martinez said about his wrap as a bad defender, via  “In my sense, they have to fix the way they measure that stuff.  Because for me, sometimes the way they do it is not accurate as it’s supposed to be.  I went to Arizona, they measure it in a different way and they were like, ‘You get to balls and we’re more than happy with what you’re doing.’  So I’ve always had confidence.  I take it seriously.  I get more [upset] when I mess something up in the outfield than I do at the plate.  I take a lot of pride in it.  I don’t feel like I’m a liability out there as much as everyone wants to make it sound like that.”"

Martinez went on to admit that the broken arm he suffered in 2016 after running into a wall has affected the way he played balls.  He didn’t want to get hurt again, so he was more cautious.  That, along with his recent foot injury, has played a role in his hesitance on defense.

Next: Boston Red Sox 2018: Setting 3 goals for J.D. Martinez

But, in 2018, he is looking to prove he is no weak link out there and expects to get every chance to show it.