Designated hitter J.D. Martinez has added a new dimension to the Dodgers lineup since returning from the injured list. That proved especially so last week when Martinez homered five times, and on Monday for his efforts was named National League player of the week.
Martinez had 11 hits in 24 at-bats last week against the Tigers and Giants, with five home runs and three doubles in seven games, driving in 12 runs while hitting .458/.500/1.208.
Groin and hamstring tightness cost Martinez three weeks on the injured list, but lingered since the last week of July, limiting him to only intermittent duty for a month and a half. But since returning from the injured list on September 8, Martinez is hitting .375/.422/.768 with 10 extra-base hits in 20 games.
Despite the missed time, Martinez is tied for 12th in the National League with 31 home runs, and his .577 slugging percentage ranks fourth in the NL among players with at least 450 plate appearances.
That hot streak has Martinez on the cusp of a few milestones. He’s driven in 98 runs in only 107 games this season, vying for a fifth career 100-RBI season. He’s also sitting on 997 career runs batted in, with seven games remaining in the regular season. Only 303 major league players have driven in 1,000 runs, just 1.3 percent of players in the history of the sport.
Thomas Burns holds the Dodgers record for fewest games played in a 100-RBI season, with 128 RBI in 119 games in 1890, Brooklyn’s first year in the National League. If Martinez gets two RBI this week, he’ll set a new team mark.
This is the 11th career player of the week award for Martinez, dating all the way back to 2014. Eight of his weekly honors were in the American League — four each with the Tigers and Red Sox — plus two in the National League in 2017 after getting traded to the Diamondbacks before this week’s award with the Dodgers.
Martinez is the third Dodger to win player of the week in 2023, with all of them coming in the last eight weeks. Freddie Freeman won for the week of July 31-August 6, and Mookie Betts was rewarded for the week of August 21-27.