The Blue Jays selected Vanderbilt utility man Austin Martin with the fifth overall pick in the MLB Draft on Wednesday night.
Martin's rise to stardom barely hit a hitch in the college ranks, where he went from standout freshman to arguably the best position player in the the country by the time the coronavirus crisis shut down his junior season. During his time at Vandy he played competent defense in both the infield and outfield, which is to say he's versatile, but his stick is his ticket to the big leagues.
Martin left school with a 1.007 on-base plus slugging -- this after "only" tallying an .866 OPS in 273 plate appearances as a freshman in 2018. Fifty-seven of his 200 career hits were of the extra-base variety, and perhaps most telling of all, Martin's 85 walks eclipsed his 82 career strikeouts -- a sure sign of a hitter in total control.
Martin appears to have the ideal package of top-end athleticism with a polished approach which separates mere toolsy prospects from guys who go on to become great players. Here's what you need to know about him:
Career stats: 140 games, 665 plate appearances, 14 home runs, 76 RBIs, 43 stolen bases in 57 attempts, 85 walks, .368 batting average, .474 on-base percentage, .532 slugging
Accolades: First-Team All-SEC 2019, Golden Spikes semifinalist 2019, Dick Howser Trophy semifinalist 2019
• Elite production in college's premier conference
• Terrific plate approach -- selective and works counts
• Breakout star as a true freshman at 19
• Good all-around athletic tools including quickness, speed, strong hands and arm, and bat speed
• Versatile on defense -- played third base, outfield, shortstop, second and even some first base in college
• Appeared to have throwing issues in the infield this season before moving to outfield
Expert scout analysis:
• "The best pure hitter in the 2020 Draft" -- MLB Pipeline
• "One of the top pure hitters in college baseball" -- D1 Baseball
• The draft's "best overall prospect due to his combination of performance, athleticism and all-around quickness" -- Keith Law