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J.D. vying for first global Triple Crown since '56

Boston slugger could become first to lead both leagues in BA, HR and RBIs since Mantle
MLB.com

In this final month of the regular season, J.D. Martinez has a shot to make history.

The Red Sox slugger entered September in the top two in the Major Leagues in batting average, home runs and RBIs, putting him in position to challenge for a "true" Triple Crown, which would encompass all of MLB. The last player to lead the Majors in all three categories in the same season was Mickey Mantle, who batted .353 with 52 homers and 130 RBIs for the Yankees in 1956.

In this final month of the regular season, J.D. Martinez has a shot to make history.

The Red Sox slugger entered September in the top two in the Major Leagues in batting average, home runs and RBIs, putting him in position to challenge for a "true" Triple Crown, which would encompass all of MLB. The last player to lead the Majors in all three categories in the same season was Mickey Mantle, who batted .353 with 52 homers and 130 RBIs for the Yankees in 1956.

In fact, Martinez could become only the sixth player since the American League began play in 1901 to snag an MLB Triple Crown. It's a short list of baseball legends, featuring Hall of Famers Mantle, Ted Williams (1942), Lou Gehrig ('34), Rogers Hornsby ('25), and Ty Cobb ('09).

Even an AL or NL Triple Crown is rare. A player has led his league in average, homers and RBIs just 16 times, including 12 since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920.

• Every Triple Crown winner in MLB history

Before the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera broke a 45-year drought in 2012, there hadn't been a Triple Crown winner since Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski pulled off the feat for the 1967 Red Sox. Now, more than a half-century later, another Boston player is trying to join this exclusive club.

Martinez seemed like an ideal match for the Red Sox from the time free agency opened last November, but it wasn't until late February that the two sides officially agreed to a five-year deal. So far, so good.

If he is able to win the Triple Crown, he'll probably need some help from teammate Mookie Betts, who currently holds a nine-point lead in batting average (.339 to .330). Could Martinez catch and then surpass his teammate before the end of the regular season? Consider this hypothetical:

If we assume that over the final eight games of the season, both Betts and Martinez average roughly four at-bats per game, that gives them 32 more at-bats apiece. If Betts goes 9-for-32 (a .281 average) in that span, his season mark would drop to .335, which means Martinez would need to go 14-or-32 (.438) to finish the season at .336 and edge out Betts. Bottom line: Over the course of 32 at-bats for these two players, there are a variety of scenarios in which Martinez can pass Betts.

Here is a day-by-day look at Martinez's Triple Crown chase, going back to Sept. 1. For each Triple Crown category, Martinez's MLB rank is listed:

Sept. 21 at CLE
J.D.'s line:
0-for-2, 2 BB
Boston won for the 105th time this season, and as Betts got a day off, Martinez had a chance to pick up some ground on his teammate, but was unable to do so. He lost a point to Betts by going 0-for-2.
Stats: .330 (2nd), 41 HRs (2nd), 124 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .339
HR leader: Khris Davis, 45
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 119

Sept. 20 at NYY
J.D.'s line:
1-for-4, single, RBI, walk
In a division-clinching victory over the Yankees, Martinez opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. That was his only hit of the game, however, while Betts went 4-for-5 to open up an eight-point lead over Martinez in batting average.
Stats: .331 (2nd), 41 HRs (2nd), 124 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .339
HR leader: Khris Davis, 43
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 116

Sept. 19 at NYY
J.D.'s line:
3-for-3, three singles
Though the Red Sox lost, 10-1, and again were unable to clinch the AL East at Yankee Stadium, Martinez gained on teammate Betts in the batting average department, as Betts went 0-for-4 with a walk to drop three points, while Martinez's three hits upped his average by three points. 
Stats: .331 (2nd), 41 HRs (2nd), 123 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .334
HR leader: Khris Davis, 43
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 115

Sept. 18 at NYY
J.D.'s line: 
1-for-3, triple, RBI
Starting in right field in Betts' place, Martinez picked up his first RBI in five days with a third-inning sacrifice fly and later knocked his second triple of the season as the Yankees topped the Red Sox, 3-2.
Stats: .328 (2nd), 41 HRs (2nd), 123 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .337
HR leader: Khris Davis, 43
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 115

Sept. 17 (Red Sox off-day)
J.D.'s line:
Did not play
Stats: .328 (2nd), 41 HRs (2nd), 122 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .337
HR leader: Khris Davis, 43
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 115

Sept. 16 vs. NYM
J.D.'s line:
Did not play
Stats: .328 (2nd), 41 HRs (2nd), 122 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .337
HR leader: Khris Davis, 43
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 115

Sept. 15 vs. NYM
J.D.'s line:
0-for-5, no RBIs
Martinez had his worst game in a while, striking out three times for the first time since Aug. 5 and leaving six runners on base. But the Red Sox still beat the Mets, 5-3.
Stats: .328 (2nd), 41 HRs (2nd), 122 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .338
HR leader: Khris Davis, 42
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 111

Sept. 14 vs. NYM
J.D.'s line:
1-for-2, BB, no RBIs
Martinez singled but didn't have any RBI opportunities as Noah Syndergaard pitched seven shutout innings as the Red Sox offense fell quiet in an 8-0 loss.
Stats: .331 (2nd), 41 HRs (2nd), 122 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .339
HR leader: Khris Davis, 42
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 111

Sept. 13 vs. TOR
J.D.'s line:
2-for-4, HR, RBI
Martinez launched his 41st home run of the season in Boston's 4-3 victory over Toronto at Fenway Park, a solo shot in the second inning.
Stats: .330 (2nd), 41 HRs (T-1st), 122 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .340
HR leader: Martinez; Khris Davis
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 110

Sept. 12 vs. TOR
J.D.'s line:
0-for-3, BB, no RBIs
Martinez was hitless and didn't add to his RBI total, but the Red Sox won their 100th game of the season in a 1-0 victory at Fenway Park.
Stats: .329 (2nd), 40 HRs (2nd), 121 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .340
HR leader: Khris Davis, 41
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 110

Sept. 11 vs. TOR
J.D.'s line:
1-for-4, no HRs or RBIs
Martinez managed just a single in the eighth inning, but the Red Sox came from behind to beat the Jays, 7-2, and clinched a postseason berth for the third consecutive season.
Stats: .331 (2nd), 40 HRs (2nd), 121 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .340
HR leader: Khris Davis, 41
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 109

Sept. 10 (Red Sox off-day)
J.D.'s line: 
Did not play
Stats: .331 (2nd), 40 HRs (2nd), 121 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .342
HR leader: Khris Davis, 41
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 108

Sept. 9 vs. HOU
J.D.'s line:
1-for-4, HR, 4 RBIs
Martinez scored Betts with a sac fly in the third, then he crushed a three-run shot in the fifth for his first home run of the month.
Stats: .331 (2nd), 40 HRs (2nd), 121 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .342
HR leader: Khris Davis, 41
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 108

Sept. 8 vs. HOU
J.D.'s line:
0-for-5, no RBIs
Stats: .332 (2nd), 39 HRs (2nd), 117 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .341
HR leader: Khris Davis, 41
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 108

Sept. 7 vs. HOU
J.D.'s line: 
1-for-4, no HRs, 2 RBIs
Stats: .335 (2nd), 39 HRs (2nd), 117 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .339
HR leader: Khris Davis, 40
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 106

Sept. 6 (Red Sox off-day)
J.D.'s line: 
Did not play
Stats: .335 (2nd), 39 HRs (2nd), 115 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .335
HR leader: Khris Davis, 40
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 106

Sept. 5 at ATL
J.D.'s line: Did not play
With no DH and the team having a day off on Sept. 6, Martinez was out of the lineup and essentially given two days off.
Stats: .335 (2nd), 39 HRs (2nd), 115 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .335
HR leader: Khris Davis, 40
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 106

Sept. 4 at ATL
J.D.'s line: 1-for-4, no HRs or RBIs
Martinez's hit came with a man in scoring position, but Rick Porcello, an AL pitcher not used to running the bases, only advanced to third. That deprived Martinez of a potential RBI.
Stats: .335 (2nd), 39 HRs (2nd), 115 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .336
HR leader: Khris Davis, 40
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 106

Sept. 3 at ATL
J.D.'s line: 1-for-4, no HRs or RBIs
It was a quiet game for Martinez. His only RBI chance came in the top of the ninth, when he batted with men on second and third and no one out, but he was issued an intentional walk before being double-switched out for closer Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the ninth.
Stats: .336 (2nd), 39 HRs (2nd), 115 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .338
HR leader: Khris Davis, 40
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 106

Sept. 2 at CWS
J.D.'s line: 2-for-3, no HRs or RBIs
Martinez walked and singled twice, getting a break when he had a blooper (64.1 mph exit velocity) drop in shallow right field in the ninth inning. On the other hand, Martinez also crushed a deep fly ball to center field in the third (98.5 mph exit velocity) that Chicago's Adam Engel hauled in on the warning track.
Stats: .337 (2nd), 39 HRs (2nd), 115 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .340
HR leader: Khris Davis, 40
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 105

Sept. 1 at CWS
J.D.'s line: 2-for-4, no HRs, 1 RBI
Martinez smacked a pair of ground-ball singles back up the middle, the latter bringing home a run in the seventh inning.
Stats: .335 (2nd), 39 HRs (2nd), 115 RBIs (1st)
AVG leader: Mookie Betts, .340
HR leader: Khris Davis, 40
RBI leader: Martinez; K. Davis next with 105

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez