By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — The impressive track of Vanderbilt players taken in the annual MLB draft continued last week, led by former star Austin Martin being taken number five overall by the Toronto Blue Jays. That actually was a little lower than anticipated as some thought Martin might as either the first or second overall choice. Martin became the sixth Commodore taken in the top five and the 10th overall Top 10 pick since Tim Corbin became head coach in 2003. Martin played 65 games at third base, 25 in center field, 13 at second base, 13 at first base, 12 in left field and two at shortstop. ‘
“Once I heard my name selected I think I went completely numb for a little bit,” Martin said on the MLB Network. “It’s surreal now. Everything you work for since you were a kid is coming into place, coming into fold. I’m excited. I’m grateful to Toronto for giving me this opportunity.”The Commodores also had two outfielders taken in the first round. Robert Hassell III was the number eight selection of the San Diego Padres and Pete Crow-Armstrong was selected number 19 by the New York Mets.
Vanderbilt then had three players taken in the second day of the draft, which this year was shortened down to five rounds instead of the usual 40. Three Commodore pitchers were taken, led by Tyler Brown. He was drafted number 101 by the Houston Astros in the third round. Jake Eder was taken number 104 by the Miami Marlins with the third pick of the fourth round. Mason Hickman was taken number 154 and picked by the Cleveland Indians late in the fifth round.
Brown finished second all-time among Vanderbilt relievers with 21 saves. Eder had a three-inning save that helped Vanderbilt win the 2019 College World Series. Hickman won the title-clinching game against Michigan. All the draftees are viewed as top prospects, but particularly Martin and Brown.