Blue Jays’ Austin Martin capitalizing on ‘learning moment’ at MLB camp

Toronto Blue Jays 2020 first-round pick Austin Martin jumped on Tim and Sid to talk about what it was like to join the team and how he's adjusting to life in Canada.

The pandemic-plagued year we’re living in hasn’t been all bad for Toronto Blue Jays draftee Austin Martin.

Sure, COVID-19 cost him most of his junior year and a shot at helping Vanderbilt defend its national championship. But after inking his over-slot signing bonus (north of $7 million, a franchise record) last month, Martin skipped the rookie ball bus rides and minor league grind, instead finding himself at MLB summer camp as part of Toronto’s 60-man player pool.

“What more could you ask for?” he said.

Martin knows it’s unorthodox to be around big leaguers so soon. Under normal circumstances, he wouldn’t be anywhere near the Rogers Centre right now. Newly minted Blue Jays prospects start out in ‘A’ ball or lower, in Vancouver, Lansing, Mich., or Bluefield, W.V.

“Hanging around with these guys (in Toronto), being able to pick their brains a little bit, this is a very big learning moment for me,” Martin said Friday in an appearance on Tim & Sid. “I plan to take full advantage of the time I have with these guys.”

The 21-year-old said he hasn’t gravitated toward anyone specifically, but that people across the organization have welcomed him in.

“With only being here four or five short days, I feel at home and comfortable already,” he said.

At the same time, he likely won’t call Toronto home much longer, given that the Blue Jays only have a few days left of summer camp. Next week, they head to Boston for a pair of exhibition games (July 21-22) before opening the season on the road against Tampa Bay (July 24).

Martin, who is only a few months removed from college and doesn’t have any professional experience, won’t be added to the MLB roster.

He said his conversations with Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo have been “brief,” which is understandable as Montoyo prepares his players for the fast-approaching season.

For Martin, this whiff of big league life is a learning experience for where he hopes to be “in a year or two.”

As unlikely as it might be, though, there is technically a chance for Martin to get a call-up this year. He’s not banking on it, but getting a glimpse during MLB camp has helped him prepare just in case.

“It’s a crazy your, so you never know,” Martin said. “If the opportunity were to come, of course I’d be ready, but that’s not where my mind’s at right now.”


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