J.D. Martinez is one of Major League Baseball’s most feared hitters, but it hasn’t always been that way.
Martinez broke into the big leagues in 2011 with the Houston Astros but eventually was released after struggling over the course of three seasons with the franchise. It wasn’t until 2015 when Martinez established himself as one of the game’s most well-rounded sluggers, and the two-time All-Star has cited his humble beginnings as a leading source of motivation.
The 31-year-old posted one of the best campaigns of his career in his debut season with the Boston Red Sox. Martinez earned two Silver Slugger Awards after clubbing 43 home runs — the most of any first-year Red Sox — to go along with a career-high 130 RBIs and a .330 batting average.
Martinez’s dedication to his craft is unwavering, and his work ethic hasn’t gone unnoticed by one of the best hitters in Red Sox history.
“I’ve got to give it to J.D., man,” David Ortiz told reporters Saturday, per MassLive’s Christopher Smith. “J.D. is like the center, the mother (hen). He’s the one who everybody is like getting feed(back) from because he’s a psychopath. This dude is in another level of being good and wanting to be better. That’s one thing I enjoy the most when I’m around here: just watch the way he handles himself and the way he helps the rest of the squad. That’s what makes a difference year after year after year.”
With Martinez among the more prominent leaders in Boston’s clubhouse, Red Sox fans should feel confident that the team won’t get complacent after winning the 2018 World Series. The Sox are hungry to repeat, and they’ll be counting on players like Martinez to lead the charge.
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports