TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays selected shortstop Austin Martin with the No. 5 pick at the Major League Baseball amateur draft on Wednesday.
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The versatile Martin has spent time at various positions including centrefield while at Vanderbilt University, with some scouts calling him the best pure hitter at the draft.
TSN’s Scott Mitchell on Martin, “He’s played all over the diamond for the Commodores, and teams seem to be split on where he ends up, with centre field, third base and middle infield the likeliest, in that order.”
Adding, “No matter the glove, the 21-year-old right-hander hitter can rake, using some of the best bat speed in the draft class to get it done, and Martin could be a top-of-the-order fixture in short order.”
In 140 career NCAA games over three seasons — with 2020 being cut short by the pandemic — the 21-year-old slashed .368/.474/.532 with 85 walks. In 2019, he had 105 hits in 65 games with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Tigers selected third baseman Spencer Torkelson from Arizona State University with the first overall pick.
This year’s draft has been cut down to just five rounds from the usual 40 in a cost-cutting move due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Blue Jays, who were 67-95 last season, also hold the Nos. 42, 77, 106 and 136 overall selections, which will be made on Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2020.
More to come.