It was a nice comeback season for J.D. Martinez in 2023, as he rebounded from a 117 OPS+ at age 34 to a 134 mark last year. With the Dodgers replacing him with Shohei Ohtani, Martinez hit free agency, where he didn’t quite find the market he imagined. He remained unsigned until the end of Spring Training, when he signed a back-loaded deal with the Mets.

David Stearns had said that he wanted to give young guys a shot. But signing Martinez ultimately means more ABs for a 36 year old, at the expense of 24-year-old Mark Vientos. Most Mets fans are happy with the deal, figuring that Martinez is much more likely to be productive than Vientos. Here’s how the computer models see Martinez doing this year:

ATC – 492 PA, .253/.318/.465, 22 HR
Marcel – 499 PA, .268/.329/.494, 22 HR
Steamer – 535 PA, .241/.309/.439, 22 HR
THE BAT – 492 PA, .247/.311/.449, 21 HR
ZiPS – 494 PA, .245/.310/.458, 22 HR

It’s not like the above numbers are bad. But you hear Martinez’ name and you think he’s going to deliver more than that. Marcel does not give an OPS+ number but wRC+ on FanGraphs is a similar-type number. And these four predictions on FG range from a 105-110 wRC+. For sure, that’s better than the 89 OPS+ the Mets received from the DH spot in 2023. At the same time, let’s cue Peggy Lee:

Is that all there is?
Is that all there is?
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is

Maybe there’s too much age-related decline baked into these numbers. Afterall, Martinez had a .572 SLG in ’23 and the most optimistic forecast above calls for a drop of 78 points. But two of the three previous years saw disappointing numbers for Martinez, even if one of those was the Covid year of 2020.

Martinez was one of the early adapters in the fly-ball revolution. Allegedly, he got his swing messed up in Boston before being reunited with his hitting coach last year in Los Angeles. That may be purely anecdotal. But one thing we know for sure is that when he hits the ball, Martinez makes loud contact. Statcast shows his Hard-Hit% in the 98th percentile. That’s really good!

On the flip side is that there’s a lot of swing and miss in Martinez’ game. He had a 34.4 Whiff% and a 31.1 K% last year, which ranked in the 7th and 9th percentile, respectively. And it’s not fastballs giving Martinez trouble. In pitches Statcast labels “offspeed,” he had a 49.0 Whiff% last year. Maybe that’s Martinez cheating to keep up with the fastball. Or maybe it’s trouble with pitch recognition. Either way, it’s something to be aware of when viewing his ABs.

One last note is that Martinez battled hamstring and groin injuries last year, missing most of August. When he returned on 9/8, he came back with a vengeance, putting up a .333/.371/.679 line with 12 XBH in 89 PA. It would be wonderful if he approached those types of numbers with the Mets. My totally biased forecast for Martinez: 555 PA, .253/.309/.503, 28 HR

8 comments on “Mets 2024 projections: J.D. Martinez

  • Steve_S.

    570 PA, .267/.333/.540, 25 HR

  • T.J.

    .265/.310/.490 27 HR. 525 PA

  • Leslie Elkins

    .266-314-510 26 HR

  • Jimmy P

    Yet another case when the computers are examining data without nuance or comprehension. JD was injured in 2022, his well-known back problems, and struggled to perform close to his established standards. Will he get hurt again? Maybe. But those numbers from 2022 are outliers, inconsequential, not indicative of a healthy Martinez.

  • Woodrow

    Many fans thought Vientos would have hit. 30 HRs if he got 500 ABs. Anyone know Vientos’ projections.

  • Metsense

    Martinez should regress just because of his age but I still think he will have 850+ OPS.

    547 PA 276/334/528 29 HR

  • NYM6986

    Another year older and he is hitting in the Mets and not the Dodgers lineup. Everyone on the wrong side of 30 appears poised to miss time each season. Love the comparison to 1984 and 2005 with the Mets having a good core but needing strong players to throw them over the top. Martinez will be a good influence on the team and provide production from the DH spot. More concerned with a healthy Marte and Severino than with Martinez. That being said, here are my numbers. Much like filling out the NCAA bracket, I have no idea what I am doing 🙂

    500 PA, .265/.300/.480 30HR

    • Brian Joura

      Speaking of brackets…

      I’m in a bracket for bragging rights only, one with 44 entrants. I’m currently in fourth place but I’m the only one among those with a shot to win who picked Houston to win it all. But Houston is in the same region as State. Do I root for my bracket or my team?

      Normally, this is a no-brainer – you pick your team. But I’ve been filling out brackets since 1983 and I have never won a bracket pool. You’re not the only one who has no idea what they’re doing.

      All right, I always fuss at people to comment on what’s in the article. So, thanks for your projection and my guess is that both the Mets and the fans will be happy if Martinez hits 30 homers.

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