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Jason Martin –  My Dodgers MiLB Player of the Year

I expect Jason Martin is at or near the top of my list as the Dodgers 2022 Player of the Year. Where he is on my list is of little consequence as that honor has already gone to top prospect catcher Diego Cartaya. Perhaps a MiLB Player of the Year does not come from the AAA level unless the player is seen as a top prospect.

My selection of Martin would be because of his dominance in the AAA Pacific Coast League and because of the number of games he has played.

Having struck out looking on that one, I have two questions.

First, who was your choice for Dodgers MiLB Player of the Year?

Secondly, could Jason Martin be the next Max MuncyCT3 or Justin Turner?

Martin, like JT, is a California boy who was born in Corona and attended Orange Lutheran High School in Orange which is just 32 miles from Los Angeles. Like Muncy he bats left but not with the power at the MLB, at least not yet.

He was drafted out of high school by the Houston Astros in the 8th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. He worked his way through the Houston minor league system and in 2016-17 hit 41 home runs and drove in 141 runs over 874 at-bats at the Class A and AA levels.

His prospect status continued to grow but on January 13, 2018 he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates along with RHP Joe Musgrove and RHP Michael Feliz in the deal that brought Gerrit Cole to the Astros.

It may have been one of the first trades in MLB history, or perhaps the only, that involved two players from the same high school being swapped for one another. Both Martin and Cole  claim Orange Lutheran High School as their Alma Mater. Cole graduated the year before Martin arrived at Orange Lutheran.

The trade, greeted with some enthusiasm on his part, appeared to put the brakes on Martin’s career. His 2018 and 2109 minor league seasons in the Pirates organization were not so much regression but more so not the progression the organization had hoped for. However, his AAA season in 2019 with Indianapolis of the International League, in which he posted a triple slash of .259/.312/.419 along with eight home runs and 50 runs batted in, did earn him a late season call up by the Pirates.

With the Pirates, over 20 games, he did hit .250 but posted a slugging percentage of .306 along with no home runs and two runs batted in.

His 2020 season with the Pirates consisted of nine at bats in which he had no hits and at the end of the season he chose to be a free agent. On December 14, 2020  he was signed by the Texas Rangers.

His 2021 season turned out to be a bit of a shuttle season for him. He began the season with Round Rock of the Triple-A West and immediately hit his stride. He owned  a .302/.413/.755/1.167 slash line with seven home runs and 16 RBI over 15 games. His seven homers at the time ranked as second-most in the Triple-A West League. That prompted a call up to the Rangers.

At that time, Rangers manager, Chris Woodward, had this to say about Jason Martin.

“I’ve been following along and keeping up with him,” Woodward said. “He has been phenomenal. Not just numbers-wise. Just overall, what we saw in spring training. His attitude. This guy is exactly the kind of competitor that we look for. In the batter’s box, he’s a savage. This guy does not take anything for granted.”

He appeared in 58 games for the Texas Rangers this past season, batting .208/.248/.354 with three doubles, six home runs and 17 RBI over 154 plate appearances.

Martin saw time at all three outfield positions but received most of his opportunities in left field.

During the 2021 season he was optioned down to Round Rock four times and on the season he played only 39 games with Round Rock and the aforementioned 58 with the Rangers.

When he was out righted to Round Rock in October Martin again chose free agency and was signed by the Dodgers on November 24th.

Martin turned 26 on September 5, 2021 and has played in only 85 MLB games in which he has slashed .206/.260/.328. How could he be the next Max Muncy, CT3 or Justin Turner?

Perhaps one hindrance may be he has played solely in the outfield and does not have the defensive flexibility that the Dodgers treasure and one could question the need for an additional outfielder.

On November 22, 2021, the Dodgers traded LF Billy McKinney and OF Zach Reks to the Texas Rangers for cash. That transaction was no doubt prompted to clear space on the 40-man roster in preparation for the MiLB Rule-5 Draft. Two days later Jason Martin was signed to  a minor league contract by the Dodgers but the Dodgers have not placed him on that roster.

So what did the Dodgers see in the 5’9”/185 lb. Martin that convinced them to sign him to a minor league deal? Perhaps it started back on June 12th at Dodger Stadium. Martin drove in three runs in a 12-1 blowout by the Rangers and had two hits in three at bats. One was an RBI single and the other a two-run home run to right center field in the top of the 9th inning. It was his first MLB home run albeit against Dodger utility player Andy Burns.

 

However, far be it from me to question the sagacity of Andrew Friedman. His record on that one pretty much stands on it own in Tampa Bay and Los Angeles. However, I do have to wonder what he saw in Jason Martin. Was it his athleticism, the way he played the game, how he related to his teammates and respected others on the field, a gut feeling, or did he have some inside information, perhaps from Texas manager and former Dodger coach Chris Woodward?

Maybe it went back to the time he played with the Pirates. He apparently tried to adapt to their swing philosophy and the more he tried to make changes, the more his swing eroded. It was a costly learning moment for him and perhaps one he still has not totally solved. Perhaps it is Friedman’s belief that the coaching staff can heal the hitting wound that was opened up. Martin has tried to do just that.

“It was a lesson for me to not try to do everything everybody’s telling you to do,” Martin said. “At the end of the day you have to be confident and comfortable with what you’re doing. And if you’re trying something that doesn’t really work out for you, it’s got to come to a point where you have to have a filter and go back to what you know is best. It can be like a rabbit hole. You start searching instead of being really convicted.”

Back to Max MuncyCT3 and Justin Turner. What do they have in common with a 26-year-old Jason Martin. Well, for one thing they were all 25 at one point in their baseball lives.

Chris Taylor as a 25-year-old had 58 at bats with the Dodgers and posted a triple slash of .207/.258/.362 He broke out with the Dodgers the next season slashing .288/.354/.496 with 21 home runs and 77 runs batted in.

Max Muncy as a 25-year-old with Oakland slashed .186/.308/.257 with 113 at bats. He played all of the next year with the Oklahoma City Dodgers and broke out with the Dodgers in 2018 at age-27 with 35 home runs and 79 runs batted in.

Justin Turner as a 25-year-old had eight at bats with the  New York Mets.  His story is a bit different. For the next three years he played with the Mets with relatively good results but limited in the number of games he played reaching 100 games only once. He broke out with the Dodgers in 2014 at age-29 slashing .340/.404/.493 over 109 games.

To refresh, Jason Martin at age-25 with Texas in 2021 slashed .208/.248/.354 in 144 at bats.

Could Jason Martin be the next Max Muncy, CT3 or Justin Turner?  To be fair, Turner was signed in 2014 before Andrew Friedman was hired by the Dodgers but developed on his watch. However, could the Dodgers once more catch lightening in a bottle with Jason Martin? Considering how Friedman has done so with relief pitchers, as well as with Taylor and Muncy, it is possible he might have done so again. Let’s not forget Trayce Thompson.

Martin’s statistical season certainly matches – over matches – the final MiLB season by any of the three in their last MiLB season before making it to MLB.

His season thus far in the Pacific Coast League has simply been one of dominance and perhaps one of surprise to AF and staff.

In 113 games he has hit .286/.377/.579 with an OPS of .956. He has hit 30 home runs and driven in 102. That is just a small part of his 2022 story.  The rest of his story is the comparative one within the Pacific Coast League.

 

  • At Bats 416 fifth
  • Home runs 30 first
  • RBI 102 first
  • Runs 92 second
  • SLG .579 third
  • OPS .956 third
  • Hits 119 fourth
  • Walks 62 fifth
  • Extra Base Hits 57 first
  • Total Bases 235 first

His 123 strikeouts stood second in the league behind teammate Ryan Noda’s 138 and above Michael Busch’s 113 and Drew Avans 106.

A look at his 30 HRs.

 

 

I expect that Martin cannot be another Muncy or Turner or Taylor, at least not in Dodger Blue. They may have too many of a kind for the outfield and he is not on the 40-man roster. I expect he will choose free agency again after the season with little reason for him to sign with the Dodgers.

Here is a Dodger Poke interview with Justin Martin early in the 2022 season.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jeff Dominique

I just walked in from the Keith Urban concert, and turned on my computer to publish this excellent write up on Jason Martin by Harold, who would have been a very deserving MiLB Player of the Year for LAD. I dare say, I had a lot more fun at the concert than did Dustin May and the rest of the Dodgers. Just turn the page on this one.

I apologize, but I got in too late and am too tired to do a MiLB Summary. I will say that Brandon Lewis was the hitting star for all of the affiliates. In the doubleheader, Brandon hit 3 HRs and now has 22.




Last edited 2 months ago by Jeff Dominique
Badger

Well, that sucked. May’s line looked more awfuller than it really was. Don’t leave any on base when you have a DFA candidate following you to the mound.

I’ll take Vargas as my MiLB POY, and I’ll take him now. The team could use his youthful energy.

Sorry Hanser. You gotta go.

Gallo roped a couple last night. Called out on a borderline slow curve. I think you gotta take those to left Joey. These umps are all inconsistent with the strike zone. Anything that close, and that slow, you have to barrel.

Bumsrap

I think I am bad luck for Gallo. If I’m watching he is bad, offensively and defensively.

Taylor has had a good impact in the post-season so I guess Roberts will keep him in the lineup in hopes of him finding the ball later. I shall look the other way while we wait. Although a tanker truck went off the freeway yesterday and I looked as I drove by.

I would like for the Dodgers to extend Trace now. Bellinger may be back next year and depending on what he changes in the off-season he might keep his job as the center fielder but I think the Dodgers better have Trace available. Joc has been gone for two years and he has not been satisfactorily replaced except for what Trace has accomplished against righties since he joined the team.

I don’t expect Vargas to be league average next year but I am ready to get his MLB career started. Hopefully he will be a key part of the Dodger offense in 2024.

The Dodgers middle infield is tired. Will one day off be enough?

May pitched like a guy that is still rusty and young. We should not expect him to be in the groove as often as a veteran ace.

Why sign Martin if the team is not going to re-sign him. Was he here just to help OK win a few more games?

Coach

I’ve been wondering the same? Why did they sign Martin? Dude is balling out but can’t even get a September call up.

Coach

Vargas as MILB POY when Martin outplayed him? Yeah ok.

Fred Vogel

Does it make sense to pick up Bellinger’s option and then trade him? Asking for a friend.

Bumsrap

I’m going to guess if his option were picked up and then traded the Dodgers would be aware of who might want Cody and what they could get for him based on the amount of his salary the Dodgers would keep.

I have always thought the Yankees would want him.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bumsrap
Fred Vogel

I have always thought the Yankees would want him.
Same here.

Badger

They might rather have Muncy. His warning track power would play well in NY.

Bumsrap

Ooh, both?

Bumsrap

To be fair to Max and to me, I recognize Max’s contributions which have been significant. I wanted to get a good right handed bat in exchange for Muncy as opposed to just trading him because I didn’t like him. I don’t know him. I’ve never been in the clubhouse or dugout with him. He just doesn’t seem as fun as Betts or Freeman or Joc. Same with Taylor.

Once Freeman was signed and Lux seemed ready for second, I thought it was finally time to trade Max and his slow start played into that. Now we have Vargas needing a position and third would be my choice for him.

2023/2024

RF Betts
2B Lux
SS Trea
1B Freeman
C Smith
LF Pederson
DH Justin
CF Thompson
3B Vargas

Singing the Blue

Three possibilties:
1) Keep Cody and pay him about 20 mil next year
2) Non-tender him and save the 20 mil
3) Sign him and trade him
a) If you don’t pick up most of his salary you get nothing back and maybe you don’t even get anyone to take him at all
b) pay a part of his salary and get a minor prospect
c) pay most all of his salary and get a decent prospect

Which leads to the question, how much is AF willing to pay for a prospect which, in no case, would likely be a top 100 prospect.

Just my opinion, but I think the above makes it highly unlikely he’s signed and then traded. More likely options 1 or 2. Probably #1.

Bumsrap

While I agree, I also think it makes no sense if you are right no other team wants him. Why not non-tender him and then bid on him as a free agent. You make it sound like nobody will offer him more than a $6M one year contract. That’s why I said whatever Friedman does it will be based on discussions with other teams before grabbing his option or non-tendering.

Singing the Blue

I agree that before Andrew makes a decision he will engage other teams in Bellinger conversations to get an idea of where they stand.

I didn’t necessarily say no team would want him, just that no team would feel he was worth 20 million or a very good prospect.

Badger

I think that will be determined by how he finishes. I don’t expect much, but a few flashes, like his series against Atlanta last year, could create some interest. I haven’t given up yet, as there’s enough time for him to turn it around. But again, I’m not counting on it.

Jeff Dominique

On August 31, the Dodgers signed RHRP Keone Kela to a MiLB contract. This is admittedly someone I have been an advocate for since 2017. I understand he has been somewhat troublesome in the clubhouse which makes it curious as to why AF/BG signed him, but when he was healthy, he was very good. He had TJ last May and he is pitching again. Since he was in the LAD organization on August 31, he is eligible to pitch in the playoffs. Another very high reward and low risk acquisition. I am a fan of this deal.

Fred Vogel

Jeff, what troublesome things was he involved in? I know his name but not much else.

Jeff Dominique

I just heard rumors of bad attitude. Nothing concrete. I do not think he could bring a bad attitude to the Dodgers. It will not be accepted.

Lately it has just been injuries.

Singing the Blue

Immediately thought of you when I saw that signing, Jeff. I know we’ve discussed him in the past. If his bad attitude turns out to be a deal breaker at least it won’t be as expensive as Bauer.

Coach

When Kela is on, he’s good. Troublesome in the clubhouse? Where’d you hear that?

Coach

Martin is the next Mookie

Badger

Assuming you’re joking Coach.

Coach

Hell no I’m not joking. Why do you think otherwise?

Last edited 2 months ago by Coach

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