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J.D. Martinez's personal hitting coach explains why slugger is so unique

Rob Bradford
January 05, 2018 - 12:27 pm

It isn't difficult to find people to say positive things about J.D. Martinez.

Starting with Arizona hitting coach Dave Magadan (read his comments by clicking here), and continuing with Scott Boras' statements at the MLB winter meetings, Martinez's on- and off-field prowess has gained almost unanimously positive reviews. 

The latest comes from free agent's personal hitting coach, Robert Van Scoyoc.

Van Scoyoc, who played a key role in turning around Martinez's career and still mentors the slugger, appeared on the "Bradfo Sho" podcast to explain what potentially separates his client from other hitters. (To listen to the podcast, click here.)

"The things he does on the field are obvious, like hitting balls 450 feet to right-center field, there aren't a lot of people who can do that," Van Scoyoc said on the podcast. "But the most impressive thing, which I heard from the assistant hitting coach Tim Laker, is in a five-run game, in the bottom of the eighth when the game is locked up and his spot is in seven hitters, he's in the cage working like it's a tie game in the last inning. So his work ethic, it never stops. It's relentless. He prepares for every at-bat as well as he possibly can. That's what's different. Maybe that sounds boring, but I'm telling you, you don't see it very often."

Van Scoyoc went on to elaborate on the importance of Martinez's work ethic.

"What separates him is all those small details and attention to all of those details," he noted. "Most of it is when no one is watching at night, before the game starts and before he's gets to the ballpark, 90 percent of the work is done. The relentlessness of his work ethic is second to none. I've said that before and I'll say it again. He comes from a blue-collar family so he doesn't have a problem rolling his sleeves up and working. That's how his dad raised him. He was raised very well. He has no problem getting his hands dirty and putting a lot of work in to do what it takes to be as good as he possibly can be every single day."

While Van Scoyoc does serve in a full-time capacity with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a hitting analyst, he will continue to work with Martinez. Part of that process includes the hitter routine sending the coach -- who is based in the Los Angeles-area -- video on a daily basis. The pair has come to rely on the system, which has resulted in some of the best offensive production in the game over the past three years.

"We both know what we're looking for," Van Scoyoc said. "Sometimes it's like staring at a chessboard and the answer might not jump out of you and then all of a sudden you step away and it jumps out at you. It's just a matter of us … I have a different perspective, as does he. So we share perspectives and have respect for each other's perspective. He sorts through the information and knows what adjustments to make."

Bradfo Sho, Ep. 57: How J.D. Martinez became J.D. Martinez

Rob Bradford is joined by J.D. Martinez's personal hitting coach, and Arizona Diamondbacks hitting strategist, Robert Van Scoyoc to discuss how the potential answer to the Red Sox' power problems became one of the game's most dynamic middle of the order sluggers. Van Scoyoc goes into depth regarding Martinez's swing, while also touching on where he feels the art of hitting is going.

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