Debuting in the same season seven years ago, a pair of 30-year-old sluggers garnered a blistering week that forced rookies to take notes.Major League Baseball recognized last week's top performers on Monday by announcing Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez as the American League Player of the Week and Giants veteran
Debuting in the same season seven years ago, a pair of 30-year-old sluggers garnered a blistering week that forced rookies to take notes.
Major League Baseball recognized last week's top performers on Monday by announcing Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez as the American League Player of the Week and Giants veteran Brandon Belt as the National League Player of the Week, presented by W.B. Mason.
It's the seventh time Martinez has been honored and the first time since Aug. 11, 2013, for Belt.
Martinez's first Player of the Week honor of the year comes after he hit .346/.414/1.000 with a 1.414 OPS and five home runs over seven games. After leisurely coming out of the gate in April, Martinez recorded his first two-homer day of the season on Sunday against the Orioles. Martinez and fellow red-hot teammate Mookie Betts are tied for the Majors lead with 15 home runs, marking the first time the Red Sox have had two players hit 15 home runs within the first 50 games of the season.
"A lot of people were talking about how Fenway was going to affect him," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "When it's 80 degrees and humid, it's a good place. We've seen it before. I've seen it firsthand. He's a guy that he stays with his approach. He drives the ball to right-center, and he has power."
Belt is heading toward a career year. The first baseman has racked up 11 home runs in his first 44 games of the year, five of those slugged in the past week. Since 2011, Belt's season high for homers is 18 -- done in 2015 and '17. After hitting .444/.500/1.074 with 11 RBIs and eight runs from May 14-20, the veteran insisted he's sticking to his conventional approach.
"I've known my approach to work in the past," Belt said. "At times, I'd get away from it. I think I'm just sticking with it now through thick and thin and working on it as hard as I can and doing it to the best of my ability. When I get a pitch in my zone, I'm doing something with it."
Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.