The Dodgers signed J.D. Martinez to a one-year, $10-million contact in December, and before the halfway point of the season he already hit more home runs than he did in 2022, making his sixth All-Star Game. By any definition, this signing has already been an unqualified success.
Martinez was voted to start the game by fans. In the first round of voting, he led all National League designated hitters with 1,153,927 votes, with Bryce Harper second at 980,191. In the final round of voting, Martinez garnered 53 percent of the vote to 47 percent for Harper.
Coincidentally, Martinez also received the most votes at NL DH from players, with 246. Jorge Soler of the Marlins was second with 236 player votes, and earned a reserve spot.
This is the sixth All-Star nod for Martinez, along with 2015 with the Tigers plus 2018-19 and 2021-22 with the Red Sox. This year is the third All-Star Game start for Martinez; he was elected to start by fans in 2018 and this year, and started in place of an injured Hunter Pence in 2019.
Martinez has one hit in nine at-bats in his five previous All-Star Games, a single off then-Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer in the first inning of the 2018 game in Washington D.C.
Martinez already has 22 home runs, six more than he hit all of last season with Boston, and only six shy of his 2021 total. The Dodgers designated hitter is hitting .255/.303/.570 with 20 doubles and a 128 wRC+, and ranks third in the National League in slugging percentage.
At 35 years, 324 days old on Tuesday, Martinez will be the fourth-oldest Dodger to start an All-Star game, behind only second baseman Jeff Kent (37 years, 127 days in 2005), right fielder Dixie Walker (36 years, 287 days in 1947), and second baseman Davey Lopes (36 years, 98 days in 1981).
Martinez is the second Dodger to start at DH in the All-Star Game, joining Max Muncy in 2021. But Martinez is the only one to date voted in to start by fans, an option for the National League only in the last two years. In 2021, Muncy made the team as a reserve two years ago, and the manager got to choose which of the many non-starters to plug into the lineup at DH. And that year, the NL manager was Dave Roberts, who picked his own player.
Three other Dodgers have batted as designated hitter in an All-Star Game, all in reserve — Gary Sheffield in 1999, Andre Ethier in 2011, and Justin Turner, who took over for Muncy as DH in 2021.