In the pandemic-shortened 60-game season, there were a number of players who experienced mysteriously subpar seasons. For whatever reason, formerly accomplished stars found themselves unable to get untracked.
J.D. Martinez was the Red Sox poster child for this phenomenon. Martinez looked like a shell of himself at the plate, watching both his batting average dip by nearly 100 points. His OPS was off by almost one-third from the previous season. Perhaps no stat further reflected his decline than OPS+, which in 2019 revealed him to be 40 percent better than the average hitter (140) before 2020 showed him to be at 80, or 20 percent below the average performer.
How bad was it? For the first time since 2013, his third year in the big leagues, Martinez actually compiled a negative WAR (-0.6).
In assessing his season, Martinez, who is notoriously wedded to routine, felt like he never got settled in.
"It was obviously a rough two months,'' said Martinez in a Zoom call. "I felt like I wasn't really prepared for last year. It kind of caught me off-guard (after the shutdown), with whether we were going to play, whether we weren't. When they shut down spring training, it was one of those things like, 'Are you going to play? Are we not?' It was my fault. I take accountability for that because I didn't stay ready.''
Determined to not let that happen again, Martinez paid extra attention to his off-season regimen.
"I went back to the same thing I always do, staying ready,'' he said, "staying prepared for the whole season, like I usually do. This year, I said to myself, 'They're not getting me again. They're not catching me off guard.' So I stayed ready the whole time.''
Undoubtedly, Martinez also struggled when he couldn't