Red Sox outfielder J.D. Martinez wasn’t exactly a slouch in baseball’s first month this season, ending April with a .958 OPS. But he’s switched to a completely new gear in May. Entering Thursday night’s action against the Orioles, Martinez was hitting .356/.415/.763 with seven home runs and 14 RBI in 65 plate appearances this month.
Martinez stayed hot on Thursday, blasting a two-run home run to center field at Fenway Park off of Kevin Gausman.
Martinez has hit safely in 15 of 16 games and homered in eight of 16 games, which is pretty impressive. Martinez grounded into a double play and struck out in his next two at-bats, but the damage has been done.
Martinez didn’t sign as a free agent until late February, agreeing to a five-year, $110 million contract with the Red Sox. So far, so good.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.
Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.
Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.
Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.