It is hard to believe that Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez has never won a batting title in his MLB career. He is a career .304 hitter, who won two batting titles in the minor leagues, and he is frequently described as a professional hitter. Surely, he should have a big-league batting title sitting on his shelf by now.
There are many years where the .330 he hit back in 2011 would have been good enough to be crowned a batting champion. However, he was bested by his teammate, Miguel Cabrera, who batted .344 that season. As a matter of fact, Martinez actually had to settle for third place as Adrian Gonzalez and Michael Young each hit .338 that season to tie for second place.
That said, 2014 may finally be the year where the now 35-year-old Martinez gets his very first batting title. He entered the day batting .328, trailing only Melky Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo and Alexei Ramirez. Although he went only 1-for-4 in today’s 4-3 loss against the Minnesota Twins, he is still batting a stellar .325 on the season and is in a great position to contend for his first batting title.
Martinez is also hitting for much more power this year, and although it remains to be seen if he can continue to do so, one thing that we can expect him to do is to continue hitting for a very high batting average.
Since coming to the Tigers in 2011, Martinez has shown that Comerica Park is the absolute perfect fit for him. From 2011-13, Martinez batted .319 in his home ballpark with 43 doubles, 12 home runs and 97 RBIs despite missing the entire 2012 season. Martinez’s ability to split the gaps of Comerica will most certainly bode well for him on his quest to capture his first batting title.
Interestingly enough, Chipper Jones, another switch-hitter, won his first and only National League batting title back in 2008 at the age of 36. This could very well be the second time in less than a decade where a switch-hitter in his mid-30s wins a batting title.