But definitely not a 'hary.'
Yes perhaps, though each case is different, and it will depend on how fast Veen develops. Some reports say he made strides from last year to this, so maybe he's quick. Manny was only in the minors for two years before being 'ready.'
But bottom line for me if I'm a scout: If I think two or more players have the same liklihood of reaching their ceilings (however high they may be) I'm taking the one with the highest ceiling every time, regardless of how long it will take him to be ready. Add in the fact that we can save money with Veen, and I'm liking him more every day.
Ultimately I'll be excited about whoever we pick though, unless it's Hancock, whom I have reservations about due to his performance this season and the spin rate on his fastball.
I've said it once before but I'll repeat it again. Martin crushed it in the SEC in the last full college baseball season (2019). No running up his numbers against inferior non-conference competition. He hit .424 with a .500 OBP in SEC games last year. JJ Bleday hit .304 in SEC games in 2019 (he hit .347 overall in 2019). Heston Kjerstad (who will be a first round pick next week and I've seen rumors connecting him to an underslot deal with the O's) hit .319 in SEC games in 2019.
In the limited season they had in 2020 (they didn't even get to the SEC schedule), Martin hit .377 and had 10 walks and only 2 k's with a .507 OBP in 16 games. In terms of power, he hit 10 HRs as a sophomore (2019). You know how many Rustchman hit as a sophomore? 9. We don't know how many Martin would have hit as a Jr (he had 3 in 16 games which, if he had as many at bats as last year, would be 15 over a full season). Rutschman jumped from 9 to 17 as a junior. No, I am not saying he is Rustchman. I'm trying to provide some context for his power potential.
The scouting reports I have read talk of Martin's elite exit velocity, swing, plate discipline and a tremendous will to do what it takes to win. For all the talk about his defense, he made the All SEC defensive team at 3B last year. The vote was not conducted among the fans or media. The leagues coaches did the voting.
We are picking second for a reason. It's my opinion we can't pass on Martin to do an underslot deal in the hope that a top talent falls to 30 and we are able to sign him.
From today's Detroit Free Press:
The Detroit Tigers have the first pick in the MLB draft, and the two top players available are Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson and Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin.
Torkelson is a great power hitter. By all accounts, he is driven and competitive, and I think the Tigers are going to pick him. In fact, there is a lot of logic in taking Torkelson — he’s the best power hitter in this draft and he fills an organizational need.
But it is not an easy decision.
In many ways, the Tigers are faced with a new-age dilemma: Should they take the home run hitter or a guy who can do everything well — make hard solid contact, get on base, get great jumps, take the extra base and have the versatility to contribute all over the field — all the things that add up to wins in the new analytics?
Most mock drafts have the Tigers taking Torkelson.
But Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin told me something about Martin that caught my attention. When Corbin was watching the recent ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan, he saw something that reminded him of Martin.
“Not to compare Michael Jordan and Austin Martin because I'm not doing it,” Corbin said.
And then, well, he pretty much compared them.
Not their skills.
But their mindset.
“When you start looking at people like that, they're far and away unique,” Corbin said. “They're different. And the piece that stands out the most is, guys like Michael Jordan, guys like Austin Martin, they compete all the time. It doesn’t matter the scenario you can put Austin Martin in. If he’s at the batting cages, or the fields, he wants to kick your ass all the time, period. That's all he's doing and he's pushing others and he's relentless when he does it. That's who he is.”
If Corbin were a young, inexperienced coach, I’d dismiss those statements quickly as somebody blowing smoke to promote his player.
But Corbin has been through this drill dozens of times. He has had more than 70 players drafted since 2003, including 15 players taken in the first round. Two of his players have been taken first overall: David Price (2007) and Dansby Swanson (2015).
Last year alone, Vanderbilt had a school-record 13 players drafted.
So when Corbin starts using terms like “unique” and “different,” considering his long history with developing future professional players, it’s time to pay attention.
“You start watching (Martin) and you start to say, ‘Wow, this kid is a little bit unique,’” Corbin said. “There's a difference to what he's doing. He's winning games for you. Because he's moving on the bases. He's on base. His cleats touch first base so many times, but when they get beyond first base, his cleats get the third because of his own abilities.”
Martin is a disciplined hitter with the athleticism to play several positions. Baseball America ranked him as the No.1 hitter in this draft, the No. 5 defensive outfielder and the No. 5 athlete.
I'd rather have a college player that will be ready in 2023 along with Rodriguez and Hall. There is a lot more risk with a high school player and they take longer to be ready for the majors.
Tork and Martin are probably overslot guys and will take a long time to sign is my guess. Lacy probably is alright with slot. Hancock and Gonzalez under slot guys.