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Astros: Top 10 non-prospects that surprised with big impacts

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HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 09: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros looks on from the bench at Minute Maid Park on August 9, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 09: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros looks on from the bench at Minute Maid Park on August 9, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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8. JD Martinez

Drafted in the 20th round of the 2009 draft, Martinez never once even topped the Top 20 prospect list for the Houston Astros, let alone the Top 100 MLB prospect list.

Now I know what you’re going to say, and I do realize most of his work has been done outside of his tenure with the Astros. Martinez is the exception to all the rules. Mainly, because during his tenure the Astros were in a complete rebuilding phase and were trying everything and anything to get the right pieces in place. It’s even widely admitted by Jeff Luhnow that he regrets letting Martinez slip through his fingers.

However, I remember back when JD debuted. Hunter Pence was traded just the day before in a blockbuster with the Philadelphia Phillies. My heart was broken. I had no player to root for anymore. I tuned into the Brewers/Astros game the next day and saw him. This power-stance right-handed hitter. He just looked like how a baseball player should look. He would get his first hit in his first plate appearance in the Majors. I was hooked from then on. And so was he.

Martinez would finish the 2011 season as the starting right fielder and a respectable .275 average, along with six home runs, and 35 RBIs. Another franchise setting player would do some amazing things that year, but we will get to him later in this list.

Through his three years with the Astros (2011-2013), Martinez would total 24 home runs, 126 RBIs, and a .251 average.

Unfortunately, in the 2013 season, he would rebuild himself with the Detroit Tigers.  Setting career highs in home runs (38), RBIs (102), and average (.315), and further explore new heights with the Boston Red Sox in 2018.

What could have been indeed with JD Martinez and the Houston Astros? He took a similar route to dominance as another player on this list did, heading to Detroit and then Arizona to find how to hit for power. More on that outfielder later.

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