I can still remember hearing the news back in March that the Detroit Tigers had signed J.D. Martinez to a minor-league contract.
I can also remember turning to my dad and saying “yea, that’ll really help.”
And looking back, I couldn’t have been any more wrong. Martinez, 27, is in the midst of his best season by far and the value that he brings to Detroit is indescribable. Who knows where the Tigers would be without him.
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But, his road to where he is today was a long one. Martinez was drafted 611th overall by the Houston Astros in the 2009 MLB Draft out of Nova Southeastern University where he was a two time All-Sunshine State Conference Player recipient. After doing well at the minor league level, Martinez was called up in mid-2009, playing in 53 games that year. In those games Martinez posted a .274 BA and a .319 OBP.
Then comes 2012 where JD appeared in 113 games; belting 11 HR and 55 RBI, but hitting a mediocre .241.
2013 rolls around and the playing time decreases, so do his numbers; 82 SO’s in 86 games, and a .250 average. The Astros then threw in the hat and outrighted Martinez in November 2013.
Jul 30, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielderJ.D. Martinez
(28) hits a single in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Fast forward to today, Martinez is tearing the cover off the ball; a .311 BA, 65 RBI, and 19 HR’s, which is 2nd among AL leftfielders. JD was also named MLB Player of the Week for June 16th-22nd this season.
I mean, come on…how can you not like JD Martinez? He’s hitting his way into the hearts of Tigers fans everywhere. This guy was essentially told he wasn’t good enough to be on a professional baseball roster and now he is showing us all what he is truly capable of. It seems he has caused more memorable Dan Dickerson calls than anybody as 7 of his HR’s have been in the 9th inning. He’s such a likeable person on and off the filed and his story is one worth telling.
Now the biggest question is, will the Tigers pay him? After this season, they will certainly have to make that decision when he season ends.
But for the time being, let’s just all sit back and enjoy the performance of a man who never gave up.