Alex Kielar | June 6th, 2020
The Major League Baseball amateur draft will begin on June 10th at 7pm ET. We continue our series of MLB Draft Profiles with a player ranked by many as the number two overall prospect: Austin Martin.
Make sure to check out our other MLB Draft profiles here.
Austin Martin, 3B/2B/OF, Vanderbilt
Weight: 185 lbs
2018 Stats: 59 G, .338/.452/.414, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 44 R, 35 BB, 46 SO, 22 SB
2019 Stats: 65 G, .392/.486/.604, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 87 R, 40 BB, 34 SO, 18 SB
2020 Stats (Prior to cancellation): 16 G, .377/.507/.660, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 15 R, 10 BB, 2 SO, 3 SB
Austin Martin was born on March 23, 1999, in DeLand, Florida. He played baseball at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville where he put up a stat line of .353/.498/.532, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 57 R, and 12 SB in 203 plate appearances over 55 games. In the 2017 MLB Draft, Martin was selected in the 37th round, 1,122 overall by the Cleveland Indians. He could have gone in the top five rounds that year if his eagerness (or uneagerness) to sign wasn’t a factor as he was already committed to Vanderbilt.
In his freshman year at Vanderbilt, Martin started games at six different positions in the infield and outfield. He started out last season playing games at second base before he settled in at third for a majority of the season and he led NCAA Division I in runs (87) and the SEC in batting average (.392) and on-base percentage (.486). He was a big factor in Vanderbilt going on to win the College World Series and will join Vanderbilt alum Dansby Swanson of the Atlanta Braves in winning a championship and going within the first few picks.
Swanson was the first overall pick in the 2015 Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Check out a piece I wrote last year, What Could Have Been: Diamondbacks Edition, where I talked about some of the big pieces that Arizona had before either trading away or losing in free agency, Swanson being one of them.
Check out the film on Martin from the 2020 season prior to the season being canceled, as he was off to a very fast start:
Martin is the best pure hitter in this draft class as he has quick hands, top-notch bat speed, and consistently makes hard contact. He does a nice job at hitting the ball to all fields and while he’s not very strong, he has enough raw power that he can tap into with a really good feel for the strike zone. Over his three years at Vanderbilt, Martin walked 85 times while striking 82 times, making for a solid K/BB rate. I won’t type out the rest of his impressive hitting stats as you can read them above.
Martin possesses all the tangibles to really play anywhere on the field, so his versatility and utility ability is a huge plus in today’s game. He has quick feet, soft hands, and a strong enough arm. He opened the 2020 season at third base and moved to center field and showed enough at all positions he played during his college career to be a solid defender anywhere. The one position he did not play was shortstop, which scouts were hoping for, but he could certainly handle it being he played at third consistently. Martin uses his quick feet and speed very well on the base paths, as well as great instincts, to move swiftly on the bases. He is willing to help manufacture runs with his legs, stealing 43 bases in the three years, and occasionally laying down a bunt.
Martin barely possesses any weaknesses, but something in his game that isn’t fully caught up yet is that he doesn’t have much more than average power. This won’t be too much of a concern for him, however, as he has enough raw power to tap into and the feel he has for hitting to all fields as a pure hitter gives him enough to be a stud at the next level. Just like the first overall prospect Spencer Torkelson, the power is something that can be more tapped into for Martin as he gets stronger, and he already had three homers through 69 plate appearances this year. Another “weakness”, if you wanna call it, it the fact he has no experience at shortstop as of yet. That is something that he can work on in the minors if the team who drafts him needs him there.
I already mentioned former Vandy player Dansby Swanson and I see so many similarities between him and Martin, not just that they went to the same school. They both have very similar builds, Swanson 6’1″, 190 lbs, while Martin is 6’0″, 185 lbs. They both have quick feet and solid defensive ability; Swanson is a little bit slower. They are both very similar in their hitting approach, hitting to all fields and not having too much power. Swanson hit his most homers in his first 3+ major league seasons last year with 17. As I mentioned, they were both huge pieces to Vanderbilt winning a championship. Oh, and of course, I can’t forget about the flow. (editor: insert side-by-side of them with their long hair if possible)
Draft Projection: Round 1 Pick 2, Baltimore Orioles
After selecting catcher Adley Rutschman with the first overall pick in last year’s draft, the Orioles have another top-two selection. They will have their pick at either Martin or Asa Lacy if they decide to go the pitcher route. 17 of their top 30 prospects are pitchers, so Martin would be the smart pick. Martin would shoot up Baltimore’s system as they rebuild and since he is so versatile he could fill any position of need for them. He would be a great fit for the homer-friendly American League East with his pure hitting tools and raw power.
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