J.D. Martinez, a slugger for Boston, had a key role in Mookie Betts’ elevation to AL MVP.
When developing Mookie Betts early in his career, Hall of Famer David Ortiz often receives most of the credit. Ortiz deserves his accolades, but Mookie Betts’ rise from top prospect to AL MVP truly belongs to another Boston designated hitter. Betts was helped in the batter’s box to reach new heights by J.D. Martinez.
Martinez recently stated in an article that the Red Sox leadership pressured him to aid Betts in honing his offensive approach as soon as he signed with the team in February 2018 (quotes via Chad Jennings of The Athletic).
They essentially gave me Mookie Betts. This is your project. They told me when they called me into the office. Damn, okay, I thought.
Martinez talked about how Betts’ swing mechanics were “unorthodox” and how he worked relentlessly to improve them.
Mookie thanked Martinez for all the assistance when the team earned a spot in the ALCS in 2018.
It’s been enormous (having Martinez). He has been a sort of mentor to me the entire time, teaching me how to play the game and conduct myself daily. Having him here in the lineup and for everything else is huge.
Alex Cora, the manager of the Boston Red Sox, remembered how the team felt Betts had a lot of promise but needed a boost to the next level.
“Only to enhance his talent.
I listened to (Astros pitching coach) Brent Strom discuss Mookie’s scouting report and thought, “There’s more,” based on what I had witnessed the previous year. There is more of that. He is a fantastic player, yes, but there is more. And we simply told J.D. to “just help him out.”
The outcomes are self-evident. In addition to being a two-time World Series champion, league MVP, four-time Silver Slugger, six-time All-Star, and a constant danger in every at-bat, Betts is currently a six-time All-Star.