J.D. Martinez wouldn’t be one of Major League Baseball’s most feared hitters without Miguel Cabrera’s help.
The Boston Red Sox designated hitter and the Detroit Tigers slugger detailed the positive influence the latter has had on the former’s career last week during interviews with The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham.
Martinez’s 2014 arrival in Detroit generated little fanfare, as he had made a minimal impact during his first three MLB seasons. However, playing alongside Cabrera — a perennial American League MVP candidate — for the next three-plus seasons transformed Martinez into the Silver Slugger Award-winning player he now is with the Red Sox.
“Miggy (Cabrera) is like a student who has all the answers to the test,” Martinez said, according to Abraham. “He has such a great swing and knows what he wants to do. He helped me perfect what I was doing, not that anything can be perfect. But he comes close as a hitter.”
Cabrera describes his relationship with Martinez in similarly scholastic terms.
“J.D. is like my son, my very large son,” Cabrera told Abraham. “He gives me too much credit. He asked questions and I answered them. That was it.”
In helping Martinez perfect his craft, Cabrera says he merely assumed the responsibility of mentoring younger players, much like Red Sox legend David Ortiz did for him in previous years.
“It was what guys like Papi (Ortiz) did for me,” Cabrera said. “I was lucky because we had the same agent and I got to meet him when I was young. I look at him and how he finished his career and I want to do it that way.”
Martinez, 31, undoubtedly is willing to pay it forward and help today’s young players improve their hitting. It’s only a matter of time before one becomes a superstar like Martinez and credits him like he does Cabrera.