Well, that went better than expected! With the fifth-overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft, the Blue Jays selected Austin Martin, a multi-position player from Vanderbilt.
According to Keith Law, Martin is the best player available in the draft, so this is a massive win for the Jays to snag him at number five. After Spencer Torkelson went to Detroit with the first pick, both Baltimore and Miami went off the board, leaving the Jays with Martin.
Austin Martin – 3B/OF
The guy most likely to challenge Torkelson to become the No. 1 overall draft pick is Austin Martin of Vanderbilt. Though he spent the 2019 season in centre field, Martin made the switch to third base this year. Before the season was cancelled, Martin slashed a .377/.507/.660 line in 16 games, walking 10 times and striking out just twice.
Again, like with Torkelson, there’s no way Martin is slipping all the way down to No. 5, unfortunately. If only the 2019 Blue Jays had been just a little worse!
Thank you, Baltimore!
Law says he hears the Jays will take Martin. "An enormous home run. Blue Jays fans should be over the moon. I think they get the best player in the draft."
— Andrew Stoeten (@AndrewStoeten) June 10, 2020
Martin slashed a .377/.507/.660 line for Vanderbilt this year over the course of 16 games before the season was killed due to COVID-19. He also split time at two positions this season, playing 12 games in centre field and four at third base. Perhaps most impressive, Martin struck out only twice in 69 plate appearances. Very nice.
Coming into the draft, Martin was ranked No. 2 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 200 list, so, again, it’s incredible the Jays were able to snag him where they were drafting.
The best pure hitter in the 2020 Draft, Martin has tremendous feel for the barrel and makes consistent hard contact with a short, quick right-handed stroke. He’s not overly physical and may not have more than average raw power, but his hitting ability allows him to tap into every bit of it. He controls the strike zone extremely well and uses the entire field, exhibiting no weaknesses at the plate.
Martin possesses solid speed and the instincts to play faster than that on the bases. A twitchy athlete, he has the quick feet, soft hands and enough arm to handle almost any position, though there are some concerns about his throwing. Scouts were hoping to see him at shortstop in 2020, but he instead opened the season at third base before moving to center field (where he could be a solid defender), and there’s some thought he could wind up at second base.