The Blue Jays could have selected several talented players in the first round of the MLB draft, but getting Austin Martin was the best case scenario.
With the Blue Jays theoretically nearing the end of their rebuild (assuming that Major League Baseball resumes at some point), this year’s first round draft pick had a little more pressure attached to it. It’s not every year you get a top five selection, and if they could add another impact player to the talented young core that’s already coming together in Toronto, they’d be one step closer to returning to contender status in the American League.
Fortunately for the Blue Jays, they not only added a huge talent on Wednesday night, they ended up with the perfect player to fit their needs. In fact, I’d go as far as saying if the Blue Jays had the first overall pick, I would have wanted them to end up with the same player they drafted in round one.
We won’t know who the best player from this draft class will be for a very long time, so I can’t say that the Blue Jays got the best prospect available, however, I do think they ended up with the right player for them. I also say that both because of who was available this year, and because of the talent that already exists in the Blue Jays organization. Allow me to explain.
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First, let’s look at the players drafted ahead of Martin on Wednesday night. The first overall selection was Spencer Torkelson, who will almost assuredly become a dangerous big league hitter. That said, I wouldn’t have been in love with the idea of drafting a first baseman, for a few reasons. One, that’s arguably the easiest position to fill for a reasonable price in free agency. Secondly, the Blue Jays may eventually have to move Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to first base if he can’t handle the hot corner over the long term, or eventually gets bumped by someone like Jordan Groshans or Orelvis Martinez.
Secondly, as much as I would have been thrilled to see them add to their pitching stables, there is a lot of premium talent in that area already. Between Nate Pearson, Alek Manoah, Simeon Woods Richardson, Adam Kloffenstein, Anthony Kay, Eric Pardinho, and more, there should be a lot of homegrown arms in a Blue Jays uniform over the next few years. You can never have too many pitchers, especially when the majority of the premium talent is still a few years away, but it’s not as great of a need as the one the Blue Jays may have addressed by taking Martin.
Although he was announced as a shortstop, Martin has experience playing all over the diamond, including at second base, third base, and in the outfield. It’s very early to start designating a position to the Vanderbilt product, but if he can add some premium talent to the outfield depth charts, that would be a pretty significant development. In addition to the talent in the pitching pipelines, the Jays have several enviable infielders, and they’re pretty stocked behind the plate with their catchers as well. They can’t say the same about the outfield though, which is yet another reason to be excited about Martin’s fit in Toronto.
Some teams believe in drafting the “best player available” while others will lean toward drafting for need. On Wednesday night, I think the Blue Jays were fortunate enough to get the best of both worlds.