J.D. Martinez runner-up for Sporting News AL Comeback Player of the Year
Comeback player of the year awards have always been kind of quirky, because there’s no definition of what a player is supposed to be coming back from, or what they originally were. Some guys who have won these awards come back from season-ending or career-threatening injuries. Others just come back from a bad year. In the case of J.D. Martinez, his comeback was from a Spring Training release. He had been a nice player in past years, but never had broken out.
Still, with 23 homers, 76 RBIs, a .315 batting average and a .912 OPS, he had a good enough case that a panel of fellow American League players landed him second in AL Comeback Player of the Year balloting among the Sporting News end-of-season awards. Mariners pitcher Chris Young won the award after spending 2013 struggling to come back from thoracic outlet syndrome, the same issue that derailed Jeremy Bonderman’s career.
Martinez earned 22 votes to Young’s 49. A’s lefty Scott Kazmir finished third, followed by Derek Jeter and Melky Cabrera.
Thanks to the commenters for pointing out that Martinez is also a candidate for the Players Choice version of this award, along with Young and Victor Martinez. That award is also based on player balloting, but leaguewide instead of just a panel.
The last Tiger to win Comeback Player of the Year was Alan Trammell in 1983. In his case, he was coming back from consecutive down years offensively.