Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Intriguing Players on the Opening Day Roster
By Noah Wright
Outfielder Jason Martin
Jason Martin was one of the pieces the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired in the Gerrit Cole trade, but he’s yet to establish himself in the Pirates organization. Last year, Martin got off to a hot start at Triple-A. Through his first 289 plate appearances of 2018, he was batting .325/.392/.522 with nine home runs and 13 doubles. All told having an outstanding 152 wRC+ and .403 wOBA.
But once he was promoted to Triple-A, the wheels fell completely off. His next 234 plate appearances saw him hit just .211/.270/.319 with just 12 more extra base hits. Martin’s wRC+ fell by nearly 100% down to just 65 while his wOBA fell dramatically to .268.
Last year, Martin spent most of his time at Indianapolis, but turned in a .259/.312/.419 line, 8 home runs, 25 doubles and an 83 wRC+. Martin did make his major league debut in 2019, but he didn’t do any better. Through 40 plate appearances with the Pirates, Martin hit just .250/.325/.306 with a .282 wOBA and 72 wRC+.
Defensively, he isn’t going to wow anyone. His short amount of time in the Majors saw him have -3 DRS, -1 arm runs above average -0.3 range runs above average and a -1.4 UZR. FanGraphs only gives him a future grade of 50 fielding with a 50 arm/throw grade.
Martin does provide some value as a base runner. He did have 1.6 base running runs above average during his major league stint. He also clocked in with an 28.1 feet/second sprint speed, which ranks in the top 76th percentile of runners in 2019. With the way extra innings work, and other guys who are more capable in the outfield like Adam Frazier and Guillermo Heredia, Martin will likely not see too many chances to hit, and mainly used as a pinch runner.