JASON MARTIN, CENTER FIELDER
|Born: September 5, 1995
Drafted: 8th Round, 227th Overall, 2013
How Acquired: Trade (with Astros for Gerrit Cole)
High School: Orange Lutheran HS, Orange, CA
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Martin when drafted was regarded as having mostly average tools, with a chance to play center. He showed very good plate discipline, but not a lot of power, in the low minors. In 2016 he started showing very good power, at the cost of a higher K rate and, in 2017, a much lower walk rate. He’s had some very large platoon splits in the minors. Scouts aren’t high on him defensively and he has progressively played more in the outfield corners rather than in center. Martin has generally attempted a lot of stolen bases, with a very poor success rate. The Pirates acquired Martin in the Gerrit Cole trade.
Martin played center for the Astros in the Gulf Coast League and showed good plate discipline, but only modest power.
Still playing center, Martin spent two-thirds of his season in advanced rookie ball, then moved up to the New York-Penn League. He hit well at the first stop, with good gap power and continued good plate discipline.
Playing mostly left field, Martin continued to improve slowly at the plate in full season ball.
Martin moved up to the hitting-happy California League and suddenly added a great deal of power, at the cost of an increased K rate. He split his time in the outfield between center and the corners.
For some reason, the Astros sent Martin back to high A, where he hit pretty much the same as the year before, this time in the Carolina League. At the end of May, they moved him up to AA, where he put up similar numbers, with a higher K rate and much lower walk rate. He played mostly in left. After the season, he was eligible for the Rule 5 draft but was not selected.
Martin opened 2018 at Altoona after missing a few games with a minor injury. He tore up the Eastern League through late June, when he moved up to Indianapolis. He started off well there, but in August went into a horrific slump, finishing with a .406 OPS for the month. He showed less patience in AAA but his K rate stayed about the same. The biggest difference between the two levels was his batting average on balls in play, which was an unsustainable .396 at Altoona and an unrealistically low .261 at Indianapolis. Of course, the drop in power shows he wasn’t hitting the ball with as much authority. He had no platoon split on the season. Martin played a half dozen games in left at each level and otherwise spent all his time in center. He had only one outfield assist all year.
Martin was slated to open the season at Indianapolis, but he started off with the Pirates due to injuries. He spent April with them, then headed to Indianapolis until the AAA season ended, except for two games with the Pirates in June. He struggled much of the time in AAA, especially June, when he had a .587 OPS. The only month in which he had an OPS above the league average was August, when he hit 299/373/433. He didn’t at any time show the power he did at Altoona the previous year. Martin played nearly all of his games with Indianapolis in center. The Pirates called him up in September, but he suffered a season-ending separated shoulder in his first game.
Martin had labrum surgery after the 2019 season; it was initially unclear whether he’d be ready for the start of the season, but by the beginning of spring training he was operating without restrictions. In the end, he spent most of his time at the training facility in Altoona, betting just a few, brief, injury-related callups. With the team’s offense completely tanking, it should have been a chance to get Martin some playing time, but the Pirates preferred to give chances to players like Jarrod Dyson and J.T. Riddle, who’ve proven they can’t hit major league pitching, and to play weak-hitting middle infielders in the outfield.
Martin hasn’t shown the upside of a future starter since getting to AAA. He may profile better as a fourth outfielder. Judging by their unwillingness to give him any chances in 2020, however, the Pirates don’t seem to regard him even that well. They outrighted him to AAA shortly after the season.
|2021: Major league minimum
|Signing Bonus: $159,700
MiLB Debut: 2013
MLB Debut: 4/6/2019
MiLB FA Eligible: 2020
MLB FA Eligible: 2024
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2019 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2019, 2020)
MLB Service Time: 0.128
|June 6, 2014: Drafted by the Houston Astros in the 8th round, 227th overall pick; signed on June 12.
January 13, 2018: Traded by the Houston Astros with Colin Moran, Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Gerrit Cole.
November 20, 2018: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
October 30, 2020: Outrighted to AAA by the Pittsburgh Pirates.