Blue Jays Come to Terms with Austin Martin
#BlueJays first round draft pick (5th overall), INF/OF Austin Martin deal to be finalized shortly. Expected to be in excess of $7M – second highest bonus in the 2020 draft. (slot $6,180,700.00)
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) July 8, 2020
Shi Davidi of Sportsnet Canada confirmed the news later Wednesday evening.
#BlueJays make the signings of No. 5 pick Austin Martin and fourth-rounder Nick Frasso official. “We are truly excited to be adding Austin to our organization,” GM Ross Atkins said in a release. https://t.co/v0KueYX64T
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) July 9, 2020
Furthermore, Davidi reports that the signing bonus for Martin is the largest given to a draft pick in franchise history. The previous signing bonus record was set last year when Toronto inked first-rounder Alek Manoah. When he signed, Manoah received a $4.54 million dollar bonus from the team.
If Martin, considered the best pure hitter in the draft, lives up to the expectations on paper, then it will be money well spent. The former Vanderbilt University star is expected to have quite an impact on the Blue Jays lineup for years to come. There are many scouts who believe that Martin has off the charts power at the plate. After all, over the span of 16 games earlier this year, Martin slashed .377/.507/.660 with Vanderbilt.
Martin’s Potential Role in 2020
Now that both sides have come to terms, it is expected that the Blue Jays will name Martin as part of their 60-player pool. By having a 60-game season, it’s the perfect time to allow Martin to get exposure at the big league level and continue in his development process.
Toronto drafted the 21-year old as a shortstop and could easily pencil him into their long-term plans at that spot. However, Martin also possesses the ability to play centerfield and third base. Long term, that fits really well within the Blue Jays positional player group structure.
Toronto’s number two overall prospect Jordan Groshans is a shortstop, but would have played in A-Ball this year. Groshans thrives both offensively and defensively, but Martin has a higher ceiling overall and thus could move ahead of him in the pipeline.
Of course, at the big league level Toronto has a seemingly-emerging-star shortstop of their own in Bo Bichette. Furthermore, centerfield seems to be locked down for the foreseeable future by Teoscar Hernandez who won’t hit free agency until 2024. Toronto also has Jonathan Davis and Anthony Alford capable of playing in center.
However, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. currently has third base locked down, there are some concerns about his long-term outlook. Around baseball, there is a belief that Guerrero Jr. could ultimately end up as a designated hitter. As such, that could open up a potential position for Martin. Toronto very well could elect to give him a look there as soon as this coming season.
In the end, trying to find a permanent position is a good problem to have for the Blue Jays. Toronto is a young, up-and-coming team with plenty of talent. It would not be a surprise to see them take a big step forward this year. As time continues to move forward, the future core group of the organization will only get better. In every sense, Austin Martin is going to be a significant part of that.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images