The Blue Jays added a very exciting prospect in Austin Martin during this year’s MLB draft. How does he compare to the rest of the prospects in Toronto?
It wasn’t long ago that many fans complained about how weak the Blue Jays farm system was, especially after the “win-now” trades in 2015 and 2016 when Jose Bautista and the boys were post-season contenders. A lot has changed with the big league roster since then, but fortunately the same can be said for the MiLB pipeline in Toronto.
We’ve already seen potential young stars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and more make their big league debut, and there are several notable names right behind them. The Blue Jays also caught a serious break when Austin Martin fell to the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft, which allowed them to add another impact building block to their offence. He’ll make what was a strong farm system, into one of the best in baseball once again.
Is he that good? Well, only time will tell of course, but there were several scouts that viewed him as the best player in this year’s draft, including Keith Law and his notable rankings. The other question I find myself wondering about is how he ranks compared to the rest of the prospects in the Blue Jays’ system?
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If we have a look at the Blue Jays’ top 30 prospects according to MLB.com, we can get an idea about the “competition” he’ll be facing on that list. For the time being I don’t think anyone is going to put him at the top, not as long as Nate Pearson retains his eligibility. That could change as soon as 2020 though, provided the Blue Jays end up using Pearson at the big league level, and if there ends up being a season at all.
From there, it’s pretty hard to tell where Martin would fit in. At #2 on MLB.com’s list is Jordan Groshans, who looks to be a premier prospect in his own right. That said, injuries limited him to just 23 games in 2019, so it’s a real bummer that he likely won’t get a season of any kind this year. He’s certainly not alone in that though, so look for him to pick up where he left off when he’s able to resume, and the 20-year-old should have an exciting future.
The rest of the top ten (from 3-10) includes Alek Manoah, Anthony Kay, Eric Pardinho, Simeon Woods Richardson, Orelvis Martinez, Gabriel Moreno, Miguel Hiraldo, and Adam Kloffenstein. I’m legitimately excited about every one of the names on that list, but the only one that might rival the buzz that Martin’s receiving might be Woods Richardson, who jumped on to #61 on the Baseball America top 100 during their last update (subscription required), where Pearson sits 8th, and Groshans at 29th.
If you ask the folks over at Bleacher Report, they see Martin in a very favourable light. Joel Reuters of B/R released an updated Top 50 prospect rankings, and you’ll find Martin sitting in 38th already. That might be a little bit generous, but then again, it’s hard to say. For what it’s worth though, this article had Pearson sitting 8th, and others like Groshans and Manoah outside the top 50.
I’ll be very curious to see how sites like MLB.com and Baseball America see Martin when they do their next update, however, it’s hard to say what they’ll be able to base it off of without a minor league season. There are pretty tremendous scouting reports on players these days though, so the conversation will no doubt continue whether there’s baseball or not.
For what it’s worth (and fully admitting that I’m not an expert), I do think we’ll see Martin inside the Blue Jays’ top five prospects, but I don’t know that he’ll automatically be placed ahead of someone like Groshans. It is possible though, and some folks even think he could start inside the top 20 across baseball. That’s a reflection of how significant his talent is, and what kind of impact the Blue Jays may have made on their organization with this year’s draft.