Pittsburgh Pirates: First Base Prospect Among MLB Pipeline’s Best


Every year, MLB Pipeline releases their 10 best prospects at each position working their way up to their top 100 prospects in all of baseball. So far for this year they’ve ranked the 10 best right-handed pitching prospects, left-handed pitching prospects and most recently 10 best first base prospects. The Pittsburgh Pirates got one prospect in the top 10 first base prospects, that being lefty slugger Mason Martin.

The first baseman raked in 2019. Through 556 plate appearances split between Low-A Greensboro and High-A Bradenton, Martin posted a .254/.351/.558 line with 35 home runs and 34 doubles. All told, he had a strong .389 wOBA while having a wRC+ above 150 at Greensboro (164) and Bradenton (155). To add on with that, Martin drew walks at a 12.2% rate.

MLB Pipeline states that there’s no question about Martin’s raw power. He averaged 91.5 MPH off the bat in 2019, which was one of the highest marks in the minors. However, they also note his strikeouts. Martin put up a 30.2% strikeout rate during the 2019 season. MLB Pipeline also states that he was working hard on cutting down his strikeout rate.

Another thing they note he waas working on improving was his ground ball rate and putting the ball in the air more. The slugger did have a sub-40% ground ball rate between Bradenton and Greensboro, but his line drive percentage was below average, sitting at 19.7% at Low-A and 21.7% at High-A. He hasn’t fully gained his man power yet, as Pipeline says he’ll add more strength as he matures.

One area Martin was working on at the Pittsburgh’s alternative training site, according to MLB Pipeline, is his defense. Martin was once seen as a below average defender having just a 40-fielding grade in 2018. However, he’s improved and is seen as a player who will have, at the very least, an average glove over at first base. MLB Pipeline says that Martin “is commited to not being just a one dimensional player and the Pittsburgh Pirates feel he’ll be at least an average defender.” This time around, he’s been given a 50-fielding grade

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If Martin can cut down on his strikeouts then he can become a force to be reckoned with. He already walks a lot to start with and strikeouts have been his biggest issue at the plate. He makes hard contact consistently, as seen in his high exit velocity and “exhibited the ability to damage any pitch” according to Pipeline.

Martin will enter the 2021 season at 21-years-old and turn 22 on June 2nd. He has an ETA of 2022, which is reasonable. He could see a little bit of playing time at Triple-A at the end of the season if he continues to mash like he did in 2019. He definitley could be a key part of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ future core.