Martin went 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, two RBI, three runs and a stolen base in Wednesday's win over the Red Sox.
Martin reached base in all three of his plate appearances Wednesday before giving way to Drew Jackson at shortstop. He walked and singled in his first two trips to the plate, coming around to score both times thanks to a pair of homers from Chance Sisco. Martin added his first extra-base hit of spring in his final at-bat, knocking a two-RBI double to put the Orioles ahead 6-4. He proceeded to steal third base and score for a third time as the Orioles went on to win 7-6.
Martin stated Saturday that part of his improvement last season was due to getting contacts to correct his poor eyesight, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports.
Martin's wRC+ for Double-A Midland jumped to 121 last season after sitting at 77 in 2017. It's often difficult to tell if such a dramatic improvement will be sustainable, but the contacts provide reason to believe that Martin was truly a different hitter at the plate. Of course, a jump in BABIP from .266 to .357 also tells part of the story, but the Orioles will be banking on the idea that the contacts were the primary factor after selecting the shortstop first overall in November's Rule 5 draft.
He was quite clearly the most surprising omission in the majors when the A's opted not to add him to their 40-man roster, leaving him exposed to the Rule 5 draft. Martin gets rave reviews for his defense at shortstop and had an impressive year at the dish as a 23-year-old in the Texas League, hitting .300/.368/.439 with six home runs and 25 steals in 509 plate appearances. He goes to a team with horrific middle-infield depth, as Jonathan Villar is by far the best option on the big-league roster at second base or shortstop. Martin may already represent an upgrade over Steve Wilkerson or Breyvic Valera, and his defense would likely force Villar to shift over to the keystone. If Martin gets semi-regular playing time, his plus speed would give him a chance to be useful in deeper fantasy leagues. That said, he is probably not ready to be a quality big-league hitter.
Martin, 23, is slashing .319/.390/.470 with eight stolen bases in 11 attempts across 187 plate appearances with Double-A Midland this season.
The 2015 first-round pick was delayed to begin the current campaign while recovering from offseason surgery to repair a meniscus injury, but Martin hasn't shown any signs of poor health while repeating the Texas League. Though his power production remains unimpressive and dampens in his outlook in dynasty formats, Martin has been an efficient base stealer and has shown improved patience at the plate, with his 9.3 percent walk rate representing his highest mark since short-season ball. He could earn a promotion to Triple-A Nashville at some point later this season.
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