Austin Martin

From BR Bullpen

Christopher Austin Martin

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Austin Martin was the 5th player selected in the 2020 amateur draft, by the Toronto Blue Jays out of Vanderbilt University. The Blue Jays were delighted to be able to take him at that spot, as he had been the only other player considered by the Detroit Tigers for the first overall pick in the draft, besides 1B Spencer Torkelson. He was described by scouts as the best pure hitter in the draft, but there was some question about what his true position was: he was listed as a shortstop by Vanderbilt, and had also played second and third base, but others projected him as an outfielder. Growing up in the Jacksonville, FL area, he had played often with and against Blue Jays player Bo Bichette, who had skipped college and was already in the majors by the time Austin was drafted.

Coming out of high school, he was drafted in the 37th round by the Cleveland Indians in 2017, but decided to continue on to college. He hit .338 as a freshman in 2018, then a scorching .392 as a sophomore and was hitting .377 when the 2020 college season ended prematurely after 16 games because of the coronavirus pandemic. He also hit 19 doubles, 4 triples and 10 homers as a sophomore, and also drew 85 walks on a team that won the 2019 College World Series (he made the All-Tournament team at third base), so he was no mere slap hitter. The Blue Jays compared him to Anthony Rendon as a hitter. He signed with the Blue Jays on July 8th for a bonus just above $7 million, the highest ever paid by the team and well above slot value, reflecting the fact he was ranked the #2 prospect in the draft.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, he was unable to begin his professional career in 2020, instead spending time at the Blue Jays' alternate training site. When the minor leagues resumed in May 2021, he was assigned straight to the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats, where he was playing center field. In 55 games, he hit .281 with 43 runs scored and was named to play in the 2021 Futures Game at Coors Field before being part of a major trade on July 30th. That day, the Blue traded Austin and another top prospect, P Simeon Woods-Richardson, to the Minnesota Twins to acquire highly sought-after pitcher José Berríos.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Rob Longley: "In Austin Martin, Blue Jays get a potential first round MLB draft steal", Toronto Sun, June 11, 2020. [1]
  • Keegan Matheson: "Blue Jays 'ecstatic' to land Martin with No. 5 pick: Vanderbilt shortstop was projected by many to go in top two", mlb.com, June 11, 2020. [2]

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