With the future of the 2020 season in serious Jeopardy, baseballs future rolls along with its 2020 amateur draft. Shortened to five rounds made for an interesting first few rounds. Leaving many players to wonder if there name would be called at all. The Phillies selected a promising right handed Mick Abel with the 15th pick of the first round. Abel, our of Jesuit High School in Oregon, stands 6ft 5 and weighs 200lbs. A lively arm that can touch near triple digits With his fastball, and is predicted by most scouts to be at the very least a middle of the rotation arm with 1-2 upside. He’s a project of course at just 18 years old, but there is a excitement to be had with that pick. Surprisingly though it might no be Abel who finds his way to a Phillies uniform first. A possible first round talent fell to the Phils in the 3rd round. An equally talented and athletic Shortstop from Arkansas by the name of Casey Martin.
At 5’11” and 175lbs, Martin isn’t exactly an imposing looking figure at the plate. His ability though is undeniable. His freshman year for the Razorbacks he hit .345 with 14 home runs(an Arkansas university record for a freshman) and 49 RBI’s. He played primarily third base his first year of college ball and was a first team All Freshman SEC and second team all SEC. He ended up leading the team in hitting during the NCAA tournament batting .352 with five doubles and 12 runs in a dozen games played.
He transitioned to shortstop full time his sophomore year and it’s believed that this move may have been a reason why his contact rate dropped slightly from his first season. Though his average dropped to .286 he still managed to hit 15 home runs and 57 RBI’s. Martin also wound up with 155 total bases which was good for not only 3rd best in the SEC, but 15th in the nation.
”Martin is perhaps the most toolsy college infielder in the 2020 class, with plus speed, arm strength, raw power, and a chance to for plus defense at shortstop as well. Typically a college shortstop with that tool set goes among the top 10 picks in a draft.” According to Baseball America.
So how did he end up falling to the Phillies with the 87th pick? His hit tool is a bit of a concern for some. Though clearly considered to have the physical tools and potential of being an everyday big league shortstop, his aggressive approach showed from time to time throughout his college career. Martin struck out 79 times his sophomore year compared to 30 walks in his 66 games played that season. He clearly will need to find a way to refine his approach at the minor league level if he wants to find himself a place in the Phillies starting lineup one day.
“What holds Martin back is his ability to make the most of those tools, with an overly aggressive approach at the plate and less consistency than teams would like in the field. There are significant questions about the quality of Martin’s hit tool and his approach.” According to Baseball America
Like most college draft picks his game will need to be fine tuned in order to become a Major League ball player. But even after a slightly down sophomore season he entered this years draft ranked at the 30th best prospect. That isn’t just a fluke, he’s the real deal. The Phillies got themselves a potential steal in the third round. He’s got a natural athletic ability to play solid defense at some of the most demanding defensive positions in the game. Though his approach will need to be worked on, he has the kind of upside some scouts believe could make him a 25/25 player in his prime. No prospect is a lock no matter where they were taken in the draft (see Dom Brown) but with this kind of talent falling to the Phillies in round three, there is no reason not to be optimistic about Casey Martin’s chances of dawning red pinstripes one day.
“The tools are very explosive. There’s a power and speed combination with this player that doesn’t exist with a lot of other players,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin, who has faced Martin plenty. “He gets down the line in under four seconds routinely, and the power to both sides of the field is very noticeable.”