The Oakland Athletics selected shortstop Richie Martin from the University of Florida with the 20th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Martin is the just the 16th player from the University of Florida to ever be picked in the first round. However, since 2012 under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan four of those 16 players, including Martin, have been selected in the first round.
Before actually turning pro Martin, who leads the Gators in runs (59), stolen bases (20) and walks (33), looks to help lead the University of Florida to the College World Series Title.
The College World Series begins for the Gators this Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska, where they will be taking on the Miami Hurricanes.
It’s likely that Martin, who is batting .292 with five home runs and 33 RBI in 65 games, will be one of the major players in the upcoming series with Miami and in the rest of the College World Series. He’s also proven to be good with his glove and is currently fielding .985.
Martin was also a highly regarded hitter in the Cape Cod League last summer batting 364/.432/.469. His on-base percentage for the Gators this season is a whopping .4040.
In a draft full of good shortstops, for the first time in MLB Draft history the first three picks were all from the position, Martin was rated 31st overall by Baseball America, putting him sixth among all shortstops.
The A’s needed to replenish their young talent, especially at the shortstop position. This marks the fourth time in the last seven drafts that the Athletics have chosen a shortstop.
Martin has baseball in his blood with roots dating back to the Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs. His maternal grandfather, Walter Thomas, played with the likes of Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige in the 1950’s.
Martin, who was first drafted out of high school in the 38th round by the Seattle Mariners, has improved over his time in college. He’s developed from trying too hard in the field (which can get players in trouble -think current A’s shortstop Marcus Semien) to playing the position with ease.
While many young shortstops don’t end up staying at the position in the Majors, it doesn’t appear that Martin will be one of them and that is exactly what the A’s need in their system.
The 20-year-old right-handed batter has shown more power with each passing year and there is likely more to come. He can hit line drives to all areas of the field but the best part of his game is, surprise!, getting on base. That certainly fits what the A’s look for in their potential players.
Martin is also very young for his class. He turns 21 in December, which gives him more projection and promise than most college position players with the same level of experience.
The draft continues with rounds three through ten being selected on Tuesday and rounds 11-40 on Wednesday.