Pittsburgh Pirates: A Look at New Prospect Jason Martin

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Gerrit Cole trade has finally happened.  The Pittsburgh Pirates pulled the trigger on the deal last night sending him to the Houston Astros for four players, including minor league prospect Jason Martin.

A trade of Gerrit Cole seemed inevitable.  After a month of speculation that he would be wearing pinstripes in New York, he now will be playing for the defending champs in Houston.  A deal seemed likely after it was reported just a few days ago that a deal was actually done.  However, the original reported deal was not finalized, but many expected a deal to get done anyhow.  Well, it has and the Pittsburgh Pirates are gaining four pieces in return for their former ace.  Coming to the Pittsburgh Pirates is pitcher Joe Musgrove, third baseman Colin Moran, and right handed reliever Michael Feliz, all whom will break camp with the big league club. The other player involved is outfield prospect Jason Martin.  Let’s take a look at the Bucs new outfield prospect.

Jason Martin was an eighth round pick in 2014 out of Orange Lutheran High School in California.  That was the same year that the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Austin Meadows in the first round.  Like Meadows, Martin is a left handed hitter and considered to be all around athletic.  Martin is a primary left fielder.  His speed is considered his most developed tool sitting at 55 on MLB Pipelines’ 20-80 scale.  He is 5’11” and 190 pounds, but he has a strong swing which has translated to above average pop.  The issue with his swing, however, is that it gets rather long which leads to a lot of swings and misses. Here is more from MLB Pipeline on the 22-year-old prospect:

"“Martin’s hitting ability stands out more than his pop, as he works counts while using a compact left-handed swing to hit line drives to all fields. He does have at least average raw power and is starting to turn on more pitches, so he could become a 15-homer threat in the big leagues. He has solid speed and is improving as a basestealer.”"

Martin is an interesting athlete, who has put up solid numbers in the minor leagues.  Over the last two seasons, he has hit 23 and 18 home runs respectively.  He also has swiped 36 bags over those two years.  His career slash line is .270/.345/.446.  Last year he saw his on-base percentage plummet to .319, but also his slugging percentage go up to .483 in 79 games at Double-A.  The reason his OBP dropped so much was that he struck out 25.6 percent of his at-bats while only walking 6 percent of the time.  Although he has shown some issues in terms of plate disciplines, he still has the tools to be an interesting player going forward.

Next: Cole Traded to Houston

Martin was ranked as the Houston Astros’ number 15 overall prospect.  He now is ranked as the Pittsburgh Pirates 18th best prospect.  Some believe that he is close to being MLB ready, with MLB Pipeline giving his estimated time of arrival in 2018. This could really be the case if the Pittsburgh Pirates decide to trade Andrew McCutchen over the next few weeks.  If a McCutchen trade does occur, Martin very well could be the starting left fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates at some point in the season.  Of course, Startling Marte would move to center field if Cutch is moved.  What would make the most sense would be for Martin and Jordan Luplow to platoon until Austin Meadows gets more healthy at-bats at the Triple-A level.  Martin may project best as a platoon player or a bench outfielder down the road, but he very well could make an impact at some point in the 2018 season.