The Houston Astros boast one of the most fearsome lineups in all of Major League Baseball. Now imagine if they had J.D. Martinez in their starting nine, too?

Well, they did.

Martinez emerged in the big leagues with Houston before being released by the ballclub after spring training in 2014. The slugger simply couldn’t get things going with the Astros, batting .251 with 24 home runs and 126 RBIs over parts of three seasons with the franchise.

Fast forward to the 2018 campaign, and Martinez nearly took home the American League Triple Crown in his first season with the Boston Red Sox, batting .330 with 43 home runs and 130 RBIs in the regular season. Despite being one of baseball’s most vaunted sluggers, Martinez hasn’t forgotten his humble beginnings. In fact, they’ve helped him get to where he is today.

“How much does it drive me? I think my failures in Houston are what made me who I am,” Martinez told reporters Friday, per WEEI’s John Tomase. “I think it’s given me that drive, that drive to keep working, because you never know what can happen type deal.

“As far as it being Houston (now), no, really. I mean, I learned a lot from Houston. And you know what, it made me who I am and there’s really no animosity there. In a sense they did me a favor by allowing me to leave and going to play on another team.

“And if it wasn’t for that I probably wouldn’t be here right now. Who knows where I would have been?”

It’s clear Martinez holds no ill will towards the Astros, so there probably won’t be any desire for revenge when the Red Sox square off against the reigning World Series champions in the American League Championship Series. Nonetheless, a trip to the Fall Classic surely will be more than enough motivation for Martinez to continue his prolific season.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports