TORONTO – When Austin Martin was drafted fifth overall by the Toronto Blue Joyce last month, he thought of the many people who helped him reach this moment. His college coach at Vanderbilt University, the respected and equipped Tim Corbin. His high school coaches, Gil Morales, who won the Florida State Championship in 2015, And Ryan Keith.
Keith was the same high school graduate from Trinity Christian, Jacksonville, in Martin Flat, who eventually led the school football team and joined as a baseball side coach. Martin worked with him throughout high school, which overlapped with Keith’s battle with ALS, who had motor neurone disease in the professional system.
“I saw the deterioration of his body,” Martin said. “But his mentality was still there. He would wake up at four in the morning, just to make sure we were getting better. He was there in time. Never made excuses. Never complained about anything. He certainly had a big impact on my life. ”
Keith lost the battle with ALS on March 38, 2017 at the age of 38, as Martin finished his senior year and was ready to move to Vanderbilt. Ask him to list some of the big influences in his life right now and Keith’s name comes to mind.
“He was surprised,” Martin says. “He was one of those people you only met once in your life. This was certainly my biggest impact. ”
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Martin, who signed a contract with Neil Joyce this week, took him one step further in fulfilling his dream of playing big-ball, with no shortage of inspiration to watch for 21 years.
His mother, Daisy Reuter, was a 20-year-old gas station attendant when she gave birth to him. His father, Christopher Martin, was still in college and would become an air traffic controller. At an early age, Martin credits the work ethic that both his parents witnessed – Daisy is now a nurse – fighting with her cousins to encourage her hard work, and to develop a childhood competition.
“My parents got me at a young age,” Martin said, adding that he has two younger sisters, Janessa and Lailani. “They were both working and doing school at the same time. My grandmother was really watching me. So, I’ll stay close to my cousins and have a bunch of old cousins who would love to kill me and stuff. We always played games and competed. I had to earn it all. They are not letting me win to be beautiful. “
That’s how this aggressive, uncompromising ballplayer came to be, the college we’ve seen quickly grew into a twitch spark plug, running black balls down the sides of the face with black eyes across the courtyard.
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But apart from the big bat speed and departure speed, one of Martin’s most impressive qualities as a hitter is his strike zone management and pitch selection, which allows him to walk more often than in a college career. With his batting average averaging around 4,400 in his sophomore and junior years, let Martin reach 4 per cent of his 65,665 college plate attendance. He knows what he will do when he gets his pitch.
But Martin’s approach is not complicated. He is looking for a fastball as all hitters are. And he’s confident that he’s fast enough to respond to the hanging ball and punish. He is not being honored in one part of the plate. With two strikes he is not changing too much. He only believes in the speed of his eyes, hands and his bat so that he can reach a pitch he can hit.
“It simply came to our notice then. So, I just try to make everything easier, “says Martin.” There’s no specific area I’m looking for. Just a ball that I know I’ll be able to get a good chance of fitting the barrel – I’ll definitely swing in it. I’ll be in the box. While there and while owning the box, I obviously have the mentality to attack the call. It’s my AB. “
Ben Nicholson-Smith is baseball editor at Sportsnet. Arden Jowling is a veteran writer. Together, they bring you the league’s most in-depth Blue J podcasts, covering opinions and analysis as well as the latest news and interviews with other insiders and team members.
Martin Vanderbilt, who was declared a shortstop in the blue win at Draft Night, played second, third and first base through high school before picking up the center field. He never actually played briefly but he has proven throughout college that his athletes will carry him in a variety of positions. No doubt the Blue Jays will try to take advantage of that versatility, and Martin says he has no choice in what position he plays – if it is on the field.
“I remember my new friend fell in Vanderbilt with my high school coach,” Martin said. “He was asking me,‘ Where are you playing? Where do you want to play? And I remember telling him I just wanted to come to the lineup. Wherever they want me on the field, I will play. I just wanted to play ball I always had that mentality. ”
Just as Bo Bichetti’s parents started him in tennis, Martin started him in football. Everyone in his family plays it. Her father, her cousins. But when Martin was 18 months old, he started tossing soccer balls in the air and swaying with a stick. Just as the beach began to sway in the tennis balls with the butt edge of his racquet. Martin was playing T-ball with four balls.
You know the rest. Now that he is a professional, he is out to prove that he is ready for the next level with a level ,000 7,000,825 signature bonus in his name. (Of course, thanks to the new draft rules this season, Martin will only see $ 100,000 of that bonus in the next 30 days, the rest will be paid exclusively on the first day of July 2021 and 2022.)
The process will begin this weekend at the Rogers Center when Martin is added to the Blue Jays 60-member squad. The only obstacle to its passage is creating a second negative COID-19 test, which it agreed with the Canadian government to allow Blue Jade to hold a training camp in Toronto.
She must be itching to get back to work. Vanderbilt’s season ended after just 18 games – 16 of which were played by Martin. That was in mid-March and he hasn’t been in baseball ever since. He continued to work and pick up during the epidemic, but it happened whenever he faced live pitching or had to read a hot ground from the bat.
“I really just want to get back to that baseball mode. Getting up very early, getting out busy. Going down to the field, taking the ground ball, hitting. It’s all about what I miss, “she says.” I’m so excited to get there and get things rolling.
Martin was also very excited about the draft night, as he won the blue after expecting to go higher than the second overall. When the night came, Martin wanted to be picked by the Miami Marlins – who picked the third – or the Blue Joyce, who he heard something great from his friend Philip Clark, who was a one-time Vanderbilt teammate, who was blue. Jess is selected in the ninth round of the 2019 draft.
Clarke played 37 games as a catcher-nominated hitter with the Vancouver Canadians last season, and provided Martin with plenty of information to play for the Canadian country, not just for the Blue Jays.
“He just says it’s a great environment. The country is just beautiful and very beautiful, “Martin said.” I was watching videos of the stadium during the playoffs when Jose Bautista ran that home run. The place exploded. And I just got excited, man. It was insane. “
Martin will soon be living in the same building, eventually returning to the baseball environment, rubbing the shoulders of current big-liguers and future teammates, on his way back to the top. This is expected to happen, regardless of the cause of the epidemic of its development, which may happen next season, probably years later. What matters now is that Martin finally embarks on his journey.
“Of course this year is a strange year. But I see it as a positive thing, given the opportunity to be around the big-league boys, ”he said. “I am just trying to gain knowledge. I think it’s great that I’m getting some taste of it. I can see how they work. And just pick the brain. I just want to learn, I just want to learn and I can take full advantage of this experience when I can. “