Austin Martin succeeding as leadoff hitter in AFL

Austin Martin succeeding as leadoff hitter in AFL

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Austin Martin did not have to attend lengthy to supply Glendale’s first hit Wednesday night time, blasting a leadoff double to right-center on the third pitch he noticed in the highest of the primary. Normally, that would not imply a lot. But on Wednesday — the night time of the second no-hitter in World Series historical past — it most likely meant slightly extra.

“Everybody loves that shot,” Martin mentioned. “To get that out of the best way, it units the tone for the remainder of the sport. You get much more assured, much more comfy in the field, and also you get the pitchers slightly bit nervous.”

Martin completed 3-for-4 with two doubles, two steals and a run scored from the highest spot in the Desert Dogs’ lineup in Glendale’s 2-1 loss to Surprise at Surprise Stadium.

The efficiency pushed the 23-year-old increased up a number of Arizona Fall League leaderboards. He now ranks second with 27 strikeouts in 18 video games in the wilderness. His .380 common, six doubles and 10 steals all rank third in their respective classes. Coming house for Glendale’s solely quantity, he’s tied for first with 19 runs scored, one forward of teammate Andy Pages (18).

“I think it’s lived up to my expectations,” Martin mentioned of his AFL marketing campaign thus far. “I got here right here planning to play baseball the best way I play baseball. I’m joyful to see the outcomes beginning to go, however I got here right here anticipating to carry out properly.”

Inside and outdoors views have been excessive on the Vanderbilt product since he was taken fifth general in the 2020 MLB Draft, with many evaluators believing him to be essentially the most superior collegiate hitter in the category.

However, it took Martin some time to interrupt into the professionals. He has performed in Double-A every of the final two seasons and produced a .255/.391/.348 line over 824 plate appearances there, with these poor numbers calling into query his energy potential. Perhaps in half due to these considerations, the Blue Jays traded him 12 months into his skilled profession, buying and selling him to the Twins in the José Berríos deal.

His first full season as a Minnesota participant was suspended for 5 weeks in July and August when a torn UCL in his left (non-shooting elbow) landed him on the injured listing. The time without work compelled Martin to consider the participant he needed to change into, and it was one which performed to his strengths — eg. the flexibility to get on base, put the bat on the ball and be a menace on the bottom paths — moderately than one who tried to chase his weak spot.

That is, he needed to stay as a prototypical most important striker.

“You’ve got to try to make things happen,” Martin mentioned, “whether it’s working a walk or — even if you go out — working the pitcher or letting the guys behind you see some pitches and get a feel for what the guy on the mound is trying to do that night. It’s a lot of responsibility because you’re the team’s starter.”

The two-run double — the second happening the left-field line in the eighth inning — and the two-sack slide in the sixth to attain on a Page sacrifice fly actually stirred Glendale’s drink.

If the Minnesota prospect can carry this efficiency ahead from the autumn and again into subsequent summer time, a recreation like Wednesday’s may simply change into an Austin Martin signature recreation in the Twin Cities. That’s the plan, anyway.

“It’s a pretty good night,” Martin mentioned with a smile.

Cristian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly weren’t the one Astros standouts on Wednesday night time. Houston right-hander Rhett Kouba allowed only one hit and one stroll over 4 scoreless innings as Surprise’s starter, and outfielder Will Wagner scored the primary solo house run for the Saguaros in the underside of the eighth. The 419-foot blast was Wagner’s second AFL landing. He leads eligible Fall Leaguers with a .721 slugging proportion over 50 plate appearances.

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