Jason Martin Turning Heads This Spring For The Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates outfield prospect Jason Martin has already garnered plenty of attention this spring
When the Pittsburgh Pirates traded starting pitcher Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros last January they received four players in return. Three of these players made immediate impacts on the Major League club. Colin Moran was the Opening Day third baseman in 2018, Michael Feliz started the season as a setup man in the bullpen, and after starting the season on the disabled list starting pitcher Joe Musgrove debuted in May and quickly become a fan favorite.
The fourth player in this trade is often times overlooked. It is likely due to them spending the entirety of the 2018 season in the minor leagues. This player is outfielder Jason Martin.
In 2018 Martin started with the Double-A Altoona Curve where he was a hitting machine. Martin played strong defense, slashed .325/.395/.522 in 289 plate appearances, he flashed impressive opposite field power, and his wRC+ was 152. What was most impressive was Martin’s power due to People’s Natural Gas Field in Altoona being a great pitcher’s park.
Martin’s success with the Curve led to him being promoted to the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. With Indy, however, Martin struggled. In 234 plate appearance, he slashed a lowly .211/.270/.319. His .108 ISO was way down from the .196 ISO he posted for the Curve, and his wRC+ was just 65.
Despite his struggles at Indy, the Pirates remained confident in Martin. Entering Spring Training, manager Clint Hurdle made sure Martin knew this. “We told him to come in ready to play early because we’re going to give you an opportunity. Jason has taken advantage of the opportunity so far,” Hurdle told reporters following Wednesday’s game. Nick also pegged Martin as a prospect to watch at the beginning of Spring Training.
So far this spring, Martin has made the Pirates look wise for being confident in him.
Through the first 10 games of the Grapefruit League schedule, Martin has gone 5-for-13 with a pair of home runs. The 23-year-old speedster has also stolen a base while playing strong defense in the outfield. While it is unlikely to happen, he is making a strong case to crack the Opening Day roster as a reserve outfielder.
While the Pirates are more likely to take veteran Melky Cabrera north as a fourth outfielder to start the season, they will also want Martin getting every day at bats which will not happen at the MLB level, Martin has at least forced his way into the conversation for an Opening Day roster spot. Through the first 10 games of Grapefruit League play Martin has been turning heads for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Expect him to make his MLB debut at some point during the 2019 season.