By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — Many observers anticipated that star Vanderbilt shortstop Austin Martin was going to be one of the top two or three players taken in the recent MLB. draft. Instead he dropped to the number five slot, where he was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays. However things have worked out nicely for Martin, who last week signed with the Blue Jays for just over seven million dollars ($7,000,825) according to MLB.com. It’s the second highest figure for any prospect this year, and for a higher figure than either the number two, three or four pics. It’s reportedly the 12th highest signing bonus in draft history.
“I’m just happy for him, really happy for him,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said on MLB Network. “Being exposed to his growth in the time that he was here, there’s so many people that are involved in his development here at Vanderbilt and even before he got to Vanderbilt. Good hitters have the ability to really impact the ball, but great hitters impact the ball and control the hitting zone. Not the strike zone, but the hitting zone. Austin has been so good at that.”
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins addressed what position Martin would play when talking with Sportsnet in Canada after the draft.
“We’ll see,” Atkins said. “He’s excited about his versatility, he’s excited about his ability to play multiple positions, and being in the middle of the diamond is an incredible start. So we’ll partner with the player and talk to the player about that and work through first and foremost what’s best for his transition into professional baseball and joining the Toronto Blue Jays organization, and then secondarily we’ll focus on how he complements our team. We definitely don’t want to get down that road until we can partner with the player in doing that.”