In this month’s MLB draft, people will get excited about the jaw-dropping athleticism of those early-round picks. Perhaps some of them are known for their tape-measure homers. There will be others with blazing speed. You’ll see some pitchers who light up the radar gun.
But beneath the surface, there might be a slugging outfielder who does his best work behind the scenes when nobody is watching, and with tools that can’t always be measured by metrics. That could be the player who is going to end up rising above hundreds of players who get drafted in front of him.
Ten years ago, that player was J.D. Martinez.
You now know him as the hitting savant who has been putting up monster numbers for a few years now, most notably when he helped the Red Sox win the 2018 World Series. But a decade ago, just after Martinez had wrapped up a solid college career at Nova Southern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., few people outside of his inner circle knew who he was.