School: Texas A&M University; Class: Junior
Position: RHP; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-2; Weight: 200
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: A career reliever heading into the 2017 season, Martin, who stands a rock solid 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, made 30 appearances during his freshman and sophomore seasons – just three of which were starts. But the hard-throwing right-hander has had a coming out party for the Head Coach Rob Childress this season.
As a true freshman, Martin made 14 appearances for the Aggies in 2015, throwing just 18.1 innings with 21 strikeouts and 12 walks to go along with a 2.95 ERA. He would throw another 21.2 innings with the Matsu Miners in the Alaska Summer League as well, fanning 27 and walking another 12.
Martin followed that up with a bit of a rocky sophomore campaign: in 16 games, he tossed 26.1 innings with 33 punch outs but his control nearly abandoned him as he issued 21 free passes. But something seemed to click for the Texas-born hurler in the Cape Cod League that summer, though. In 15.2 innings of work with the Falmouth Commodores, he posted an impeccable 22-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio en route to earning six saves.
This season Martin has looked fairly comfortable in his transition from fulltime reliever to fulltime starter: through his first 74.1 innings, he’s punched out 78 and walked 34 – or averages of 9.44 K/9 and 4.12 BB/9 – while tallying a 3.03 ERA to go along with a 6-3 win-loss record.
For his career, Martin has thrown just 119 total innings, posting a 132-to-67 strikeout-to-walk ratio with a 3.55 ERA.
Projection: First off, I’m a huge fan of upper classman converting from a relief role into fulltime starting pitchers. There’s – typically – less wear-and-tear on their arms and there’s still some considerable amount of projection left as well. With that being said, outside of Martin’s ridiculous showing in the Cape last summer, he’s merely been passable throughout the majority of his collegiate career – thanks in large part due to his troublesome control.
He walked nearly six hitters every nine innings during his freshman season. Then it ballooned all the way up to 7.18 BB/9 two years ago. So the fact that it’s currently sitting at 4.12 BB/9 is no small feat.
So now teams will have to decide: will he continue to shave down his still-troublesome walk rate with added experience or will he eventually be pushed back into a full time relief role?
I’m betting on the latter, though I hope whichever team drafts him at least allows him some time to figure it out in the rotation.
Martin’s not a top prospect, per se, but he could easily end up going in the early to mid-part of the second round.
Ceiling: 1.5-win player
Floor: 0.5-win player
Grade: Second Round