Former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd thinks the Blue Jays may have got the best player in the MLB draft in Austin Martin, and sees big things for his future.
When the Blue Jays saw Austin Martin fall to the fifth overall pick in this year’s MLB draft, there was a lot of immediate excitement from the fan base. That said, the everyday baseball fan likely didn’t know a lot about the newest potential star of the Blue Jays’ minor league system, and the last few weeks have given us all some time to do some reading and watch some video.
What we knew right away was that many scouts expected Martin to be taken 2nd overall by the Baltimore Orioles, and to the Blue Jays’ good fortune, somehow he fell all the way to fifth. Keith Law is one notable writer who mentioned Martin as potentially the top player in the draft, and it turns out he’s not the only notable baseball name to say as much.
On Saturday, former Colorado Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd spoke on MLB Network and had some glowing remarks when talking about Martin’s future.
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Like Law, O’Dowd viewed Martin as the player available in this year’s draft, despite the fact that Spencer Torkelson, Heston Kjerstad, Max Meyer, and Asa Lacy were taken ahead of him by the Tigers, Orioles, Marlins, and Royals.
However, O’Dowd is among the baseball people who view this year’s class differently than it worked out, and he quite a glowing comparison for the player he believes Martin could be. Not only that, he also had an encouraging comment regarding where Martin could play, especially because it would work out well with the way the rest of the Blue Jays’ roster is coming together.
"“I compared him to Mookie Betts. For me the Blue Jays got the best player in the draft at five. For me, he was the number one player in the draft and I like him in centre field.”"
That’s more or less exactly what you want to hear in every way. First, if the Blue Jays really did get a potential star for centre field, that may solve arguably their greatest long-term need right now. Secondly, he views him as the best player from this year’s draft, which is obviously a good thing. Lastly, comparing him to Mookie Betts has gotta be music to the ears of Blue Jays fans.
Betts is a five-tool All-Star and recent AL MVP, and for good reason. Over the course of his six year career thus far (more like 5.5 seasons), Betts has slashed .301/.374/.519 with 139 home runs, 229 doubles, 470 RBI, and 126 stolen bases. In addition to winning the 2018 AL MVP, he’s a four-time All-Star, a four-time Gold Glove winner, and a three-time Silver Slugger award recipient. He’s capable of playing centre field, and even appeared at second base early in his career, but he’s settled in as a premier right fielder.
Betts combines hitting, power, speed, defence, and a strong throwing arm to be one of the best all around players in baseball. That’s a tall order for Martin to try to live up to, but the fact that O’Dowd sees him in this light is certainly encouraging.
Obviously it looks like it’ll be a while before we can see what Martin can do in the Blue Jays organization, but it appears they’ve added another impact player to the minor league pipeline.