Julio Daniel "J. D." Martinez (born August 21, 1987) is an American professional baseball right fielder for the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has also played in MLB for the Houston Astros. Martinez is of Cuban descent.
Martinez was drafted out of Flanagan High School in 2006 by the Minnesota Twins in the 36th round, 1086th overall, but he ended up going to college. He grew up a Florida Marlins fan. Martinez went to Nova Southeastern University, where from 2007–2009, he was a two-time All-Sunshine State Conference baseball player.
The Houston Astros selected Martinez in the 20th round, with the 611th overall selection, of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft. He was signed by Greg Brown who is now the head coach at NSU. He became the first player drafted out of Nova Southeastern University to debut in Major League baseball.
Martinez started his professional career with the Greeneville Astros of the Rookie-level Appalachian League, where he batted .403 before earning a promotion to the Tri-City ValleyCats of the Class A-Short Season New York–Penn League. He started the 2010 season with Lexington Legends of the Class A South Atlantic League, where he earned a mid-season promotion to the Corpus Christi Hooks of the Class AA Texas League. He started the 2011 season with Corpus Christi before earning a promotion to the big leagues.
On July 30, 2011, Martinez was called up to replace Hunter Pence, who was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. He became the first player drafted out of Nova Southeastern University to debut in Major League baseball.
On April 13, 2012, Martinez hit the first ever home run in the new Marlins Park. With a man on in the eighth, he deposited an Edward Mujica offering into the Clevelander bar beyond the left-field wall for a game-tying blast.
On March 24, 2014 the Detroit Tigers signed Martinez to a minor league contract. After hitting 10 home runs with 22 runs batted in over his first 17 games with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens, the Tigers purchased his contract, and he was called up and played his first game on April 21.
Martinez was awarded the MLB Player of the Week Award for the period ending June 22, 2014. Martinez batted .444 (12-for-27) with three doubles, four home runs (including one grand slam), 11 RBIs and six runs scored in seven games to win his first career weekly honor. Martinez was named the Detroit Tigers' player of the month for June. Martinez batted .345 with nine doubles, seven home runs and 21 RBIs in the month of June, including a career-high 14 game hit streak. Martinez was tied for third in the American League in home runs during June. Martinez finished the regular season with 30 doubles, 23 home runs, 76 RBIs, and a .315 batting average.
On October 3, during Game 2 of the 2014 ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles, Martinez became the first player in Tigers history to homer in each of his first two career postseason games, and the 16th player in Major League history. Martinez finished the postseason with one double, two home runs, and five RBIs in three games.
On January 16, 2015, Martinez and the Tigers avoided arbitration when the two parties agreed on a one-year, $3 million contract for the 2015 season.
Martinez was awarded the AL Player of the Week award for the period ending July 5, 2015. Martinez batted .458 (11 for 24) with six runs scored, four home runs, one double, and 10 RBIs in six games to win his second career weekly honor. He paced the Majors in slugging percentage (1.000) and total bases (24), and finished tied for first in home runs. Among AL leaders, he finished tied for first in on-base percentage (.500), second in RBI, third in batting average, tied for third in hits and tied for fourth in runs scored. On July 6, 2015, Martinez was named as a reserve for the American League at the 2015 All-Star Game.
Following the 2015 season, Martinez was awarded his first career Silver Slugger Award. He finished the season with a .282 batting average, and reached career highs of 33 doubles, 38 home runs and 102 RBI. His 38 home runs marked the third-highest total by a Tigers outfielder, trailing only Rocky Colavito's 45 in 1961 and Hank Greenberg's 41 in 1940. Martinez's 102 RBIs marked the most by a Tiger outfielder since Magglio Ordóñez drove in 103 in 2008. Martinez's 319 total bases ranked fifth among all AL hitters. His 109 runs created ranked eighth, and his .897 OPS ranked ninth. He was named the 2015 Tiger of the Year by the Detroit chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
He was also a finalist for his first Gold Glove Award in right field, but lost to Kole Calhoun of the Angels. His 15 outfield assists ranked second in the AL, his .993 fielding percentage led all AL right fielders, and his 7.7 ultimate zone rating ranked second among AL right fielders.
On February 8, 2016, the Tigers signed Martinez to a two-year, $18.5 million contract extension.
Martinez was placed on the 15-day disabled list after a June 16 game against the Kansas City Royals, having suffered a non-displaced fracture in his right elbow caused by running into the outfield wall. At the time of the injury, Martinez was hitting .286 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI.