The Oakland Athletics selected shortstop Richie Martin with the No. 20 pick in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft on Monday. Martin is a shortstop from The University of Florida.
The 2015 MLB Draft has earned the moniker "The Year of the Shortstop," and, true to form, the A's have selected one. Let's see what the experts have to say:
Baseball America had him going No. 25 to the Orioles in their final mock draft today, and ranked him as the 31st best player in the draft. This bit is from his player capsule:
He has plenty of range, soft hands and enough arm strength, though it doesn't always earn true plus grades. He has shown more power this year and there's probably even more waiting to be unlocked in his lithe 6-foot, 185-pound frame, but his game remains based on getting on base. He sprays line drives to all fields, controls the strike zone and has above-average speed, giving him the profile of a top-of-the-order hitter.
Baseball America also notes that Martin is the youngest college position player in it's top 500, and, interestingly, he has baseball family history that spans back to the Negro Leagues.
Martin had a big summer in the Cape League last summer, slashing .364/.500/.469 in 183 PA with three home runs and 17 stolen bases. At Florida this season, he slashed .292/.404/.424 with five home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Here's what ESPN prospect analyst Keith Law had to say about him this spring:
Martin's swing is very short and direct, with no load, just a slight trigger before he moves his hands forward, making a lot of contact without much loft. I see a future 50 defender, meaning he stays at the position and probably plays it every day for someone, but the bat's a little light for him to project as an above-average regular. I had previously rated him as a mid-to-high first-round pick, based in large part on his Cape performance and scouting reports, but I'd revise that to say he's a late first-rounder given the questions around his bat.
Assuming Martin signs, he'll likely begin his Athletics career in Vermont with the Short Season-A Lake Monsters. Once promoted, it could start a logjam at the lower levels at the shortstop position with Franklin Barreto at High-A Stockton and Yairo Munoz in Beloit. Chad Pinder is currently playing shortstop for Double-A Midland, but there's not really anyone else between Pinder and current MLB starter Marcus Semien (other than backup Andy Parrino and injured utilityman Tyler Ladendorf).
@wordsmithsilva I don't think they're moving Munoz off short. So he could start at VT then maybe move up & split time at SS later in season.— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) June 9, 2015
Below, there are two videos of Martin. The first includes highlights from a big offensive game as well as a sweet defensive play, and the second shows him stealing home on a trick play. If the videos don't show up at first, try refreshing the page, or just click these links: Hitting/defense, stealing home.