Oakland Athletics potential draft target: Casey Martin

Omaha, NE - JUNE 27: Infielder Casey Martin #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks makes a throw to first base in the fifth inning against the Oregon State Beavers during game two of the College World Series Championship Series on June 27, 2018 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Omaha, NE - JUNE 27: Infielder Casey Martin #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks makes a throw to first base in the fifth inning against the Oregon State Beavers during game two of the College World Series Championship Series on June 27, 2018 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) /
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With the 2020 MLB Draft upcoming, we will be taking a look at some potential options for the Oakland Athletics. Today, we look at Arkansas shortstop Casey Martin.

The Oakland Athletics hold the 26th overall selection in the 2020 MLB Draft, a point that will see most of the top end talent having long since been off the board. Players may slide, and the A’s may well find another potential star, reminding everyone that the draft is an inexact science at best. Considering that the draft is taking place after the collegiate season had been cut short, and the high school season had not even begun in some places, that will be particularly true this year.

While the mock draft on MLB.com has the A’s selecting Louisville righty Bobby Miller, there is no guarantee that he is the pick, or even that he would be on the board at that point. Let’s take a look at another possible option for the A’s in Arkansas shortstop Casey Martin.

When watching Martin, it is easy to see his athleticism. He has elite speed and a strong arm, the kind of player that could be at home either at short or in center. Martin is also extremely raw, something that kept him from being drafted out of high school despite his rating as the best prep player in the state at the time of the 2017 MLB Draft.

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That rawness is still evident, even after three years in college. He has tremendous power, as evidenced by his 30 homers in 684 collegiate plate appearances, but has had a tendency to focus on hitting homers to the detriment of his swing. That causes him to have a more uppercut swing, leading to more strikeouts than one would want to see. Those strikeouts occasionally plagued Martin in college, as he struck out 165 times.

His speed also has yet to translate on the basepaths. While he should be able to steal bases with ease, he is still learning the finer points of baserunning and getting a proper jump. Defensively, his quickness, athleticism, and arm should allow him to stay at short, but he also performed well at third as a freshman. There is even thought that Martin could end up in center, where his speed and athleticism would play up well.

At this point, Martin is expected to be taken towards the end of the first round into the beginning of the second. The A’s, at pick 26, are considered to be the earliest where he could be taken, especially given their tendency to draft toolsy players. Martin would certainly check that box.

But Martin would be another project for the A’s at short. As it currently stands, they do not appear to have a long term solution at the position, assuming that Marcus Semien leaves after this season. Jorge Mateo may remain a part of the organization because of the expanded rosters, but has yet to make any mark at the major league level. Sheldon Neuse and Nick Allen may profile better as utility men, and Logan Davidson could grow out of the position. Robert Pauson may be the best hope, but he is a long way from the majors. Could Martin end up as the future answer?

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The Oakland A’s could decide to draft another raw, but toolsy, player with 26th overall pick. If so, Casey Martin could be the selection.

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