Blue Jays’ Austin Martin earns impressive debut on prospect rankings

Austin Martin’s college coach Tim Corban chats with Hazel Mae about what makes the Blue Jays' first round pick so special. Shi Davidi and Joe Siddall breakdown the draft and Jamie Campbell talks with Owen Caissie about being selected by the Padres.

Toronto Blue Jays first-round draft pick Austin Martin hasn’t signed his contract yet, but he’s already being touted as one of the best prospects in all of baseball.

The fifth-overall selection of the 2020 draft was ranked 16th on Baseball America‘s latest Top 100 Prospects list. First-overall pick Spencer Torkelson of the Detroit Tigers — coming in at No. 11 — is the only member of the 2020 class above Martin.

Martin’s offensive game is what debuts him so high in the rankings, with Baseball America grading his hit tool at a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. The 21-year-old was viewed as the best “pure hitter” in the draft and posted an eye-popping .377/.507/.660 batting line in 16 games with Vanderbilt before the 2020 NCAA season was shut down.

The Blue Jays announced Martin as a shortstop on draft day, but it’s unclear where he’ll line up defensively. His versatility is another one of his strongest assets and he could end up at third base, second base or centre field if Toronto elects to move him off shortstop. It’s also possible he’ll be used as a super utiity-style player without a true, defined position.

While Martin is Toronto’s top position player prospect, pitcher Nate Pearson cracked the Top 10 at No. 7 on the list. Pearson was dominant across three minor-league levels in 2019, and could very well see time in the majors if the 2020 season is played.

Overall, the Blue Jays carry four of MLB’s top 100 prospects, with infielder Jordan Groshans (31) and pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson (67) also earning spots in the rankings.

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