Over the weekend, WEEI’s Rob Bradford published a column on Red Sox OF/DH J.D. Martinez, who said that the players should be the ones picking All-Stars, not fans. Martinez feels like he isn’t “noticed by certain people,” but “the players know who I am.” He says the All-Star Game is “more of a popularity contest than it is about performance.”
Despite hitting 128 home runs and knocking in 350 runs between 2014-17, Martinez has only one All-Star nomination to show for it. However, that can be explained.
- 2014: Made season debut on April 21 after hitting well at Triple-A, didn’t start off playing every day and didn’t get hot until June
- 2015: Made the AL All-Star team as a reserve (nominated by players)
- 2016: Missed time between June 17 and August 2 due to injury (non-displaced fracture in right elbow)
- 2017: Made season debut on May 12 due to injury (lisfranc sprain in right foot)
Martinez said, “The only year I only made it was when I was voted in by the players, which is who I think should vote. One hundred percent. Because that’s how you know who your All-Stars really are. The fans don’t know. The fans like to think they know. But they only know what MLB puts out there and who they post on their Instagram, who they post on their Twitter and who they talk about, stuff like that. They push certain people and it sucks for other guys who have great years and get overlooked. That’s why I always say the players should (pick). I understand the MLB’s side of it. They want to get fans involved.”
While Martinez is one of baseball’s premier sluggers but doesn’t have the notoriety to show for it, his lack of All-Star appearances has more to do with his career arc — blossoming at the age of 26 — and unfortunate timing of injuries.
Martinez is batting .315/.374/.648, leading the majors with 19 home runs and 50 RBI in 243 plate appearances. Certainly, if Martinez were to be passed over for the All-Star team this year, something would be wrong. But let’s cross that bridge when we get there.