Today’s entry to the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft Scouting Report series (you can read all of the reports here) is for Casey Martin, a shortstop out of Arkansas. He’s currently rated as the #27 prospect in the draft by Baseball America, the #41 prospect by Fangraphs, and #30 by MLB Pipeline.
The 2018 Season
Undrafted out of high school, Casey Martin headed to Arkansas and became a starter immediately for the Razorbacks. In his 67 games he put together a big freshman year, hitting .345/.418/.556 with 14 doubles and 13 home runs to go along with 8 steals. In those 290 plate appearances he walked 27 times and struck out 64 times.
The 2019 Season
After a big showing as a freshman, Casey Martin took a step backwards, sort of. He hit .286/.364/.548 on the year. He upped his power output, hitting 21 doubles, 4 triples, and 15 home runs, and he even stole 10 bases. But his walk rate dipped a tiny bit, drawing 30 walks in 323 plate appearances, and his strikeout rate jumped up a few percentage points with 79 strikeouts.
The 2020 Season
There were only 15 games played by Arkansas in 2020, so the sample size is less than a quarter of a season. But in 71 plate appearances for Casey Martin, things weren’t as good as they had been in the previous two seasons. The shortstop hit .271/.386/.458 with 5 doubles, 2 home runs, and 6 steals. His walk rate did jump up to 14% as he drew 10 free passes. But his strikeout rate jumped up big time as he fanned 22 times, giving him a strikeout rate in 2020 over 30%.
Casey Martin College Stats
(stats while at Arkansas)
Casey Martin Video
Casey Martin Scouting Report
Height: 5′ 11″ | Weight: 175 lbs
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
Starting with the good, Casey Martin has plus-plus speed and may be the fastest player in the entire draft. He is also one of the better athletes in the draft, too. He also shows above-average raw power despite being 5′ 11″ and just 175 lbs.
But there are some real concerns about how much he’ll hit because of his struggles with offspeed offerings (and as a result of that, his high strikeout rate). Defensively he’s got the tools to remain at shortstop, but his inconsistency in the field has some wondering if he shouldn’t move to center field where his speed would be outstanding and some of the issues he has on the dirt wouldn’t show up.
Where the concern could be
There are a few areas to be concerned, but the inability to make consistent contact in college is a big one. His strikeout rate has been very high in college, and that’s before mentioning how much higher it is for someone that’s a potential first round pick. The upside of a shortstop who can hit for power, play good defense, and steal a bunch of bases is there. But the downside is that he’s never going to hit professional pitching at a level high enough to let him be an every day player.