J.D. Martinez might have missed the first six weeks of the season, but he’s wasted little time in making an impression on his peers.
The Tigers outfielder is considered an “under-the-radar All-Star” by MLB.com, which polled one player from each team to come up with the list of 26 players.
Here’s how this works: MLB.com approached one player from each of the 30 teams and asked them to name one position player from another team who doesn’t get the recognition they deserve.
Three players received three votes apiece — including Rockies second baseman and former Birmingham Brother Rice standout D.J. LeMahieu — while Martinez was one of four players to receive two votes each (Mets outfielder Michael Conforto, Pirates utility man Adam Frazier, and Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt are the others). Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler also received a vote.
Martinez is hitting .293, with a 1.176 OPS, and is second on the team with 10 home runs, despite playing in only 23 of the team’s 57 games because of a foot injury.
“With 83 homers between 2014-16, he was a game-changing waiver find for the Tigers,” MLB.com columnist Anthony Castrovince wrote.
Castrovince includes a take from Pirates third baseman David Freese, who says of Martinez: “I saw him early (in his career) in Houston. I don’t think mechanically he was where he is now. I think he learned a lot and found himself as a hitter. If you look at his numbers over the last three or so years, he hides with the best power hitters in the game. He gets it done.”
Kinsler, fresh off a stint on the disabled list, is hitting .239 with four home runs.
Joining Kinsler among players receiving one vote is former Tigers outfielder Avisail Garcia (White Sox) and former Tigers infield prospect Devon Travis (Blue Jays).