2017 Christmas Wish List: Jason Martin

Christmas is right around the corner as 2017 comes winding to an end. With just 7 days left before December 25, the crew here at Royals Farm Report is going to go through some of our Christmas wish lists. Wish lists may include players that we want Kansas City to acquire via trade or free agency, or things we’d like to see from Royals prospects in 2017. Feel free to tweet us @RoyalsFarm on Twitter with your own wish list!

Next on my personal wish list would be the acquisition of Jason Martin from the Houston Astros. Left unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft this winter, Martin could’ve been selected by any major league team to play at the big league level for all of 2018. He wasn’t, and so he remains stuck in the pits of a brutally deep Houston Astros system.

Good news for the Royals, Houston may be willing to part with Martin fairly painlessly. We proposed a trade scenario on our twitter account @RoyalsFarm on Saturday, here’s what I think a potential Jason Martin trade could look like:

This trade seems like it would be a fair deal for all parties. Scott Alexander would get to move to a team competing for its second straight World Series title. Jason Martin would get to move to an organization that does not currently contain the reigning World Series MVP, the number 8 overall prospect in baseball, and a loaded cast of other controllable players that all play his same position. The Royals would get an integral piece to their rebuild plus an organizational arm, and the Houston Astros would get the lefty they need out of the bullpen (who isn’t a Rule 5 converted outfielder).

Jason Martin is currently listed by MLB.com as the Houston Astros 15th ranked prospect, and the Astros have a deep system. Last year at High-A in the pitcher-friendly Carolina League, Martin slashed a ridiculous .287/.354/.494/.848 with 7 HR in 174 AB. He was promptly promoted to AA where he continued to hit the ball well, slashing .273/.319/.483/.802 with 11 HR in 300 AB.

The most encouraging part of Martin’s promotion is that his power numbers didn’t seem to suffer much. His 27.27 AB/HR rate at AA wasn’t far off from his mark of 24.86 at High-A. His ISO actually went up from .207 to .210. The only concern for Martin was that his walk rate was cut in half in his time at AA compared to High-A. That seems concerning on the surface, but when you do a little digging, Martin DESTROYED the baseball in his first month at AA (1.010 OPS in June). Pitchers started to get scouting reports on him, made adjustments in July, and Martin’s OPS fell to .715 in July (still not bad) and his OBP a mere .257. Martin made the proper adjustment and returned his OBP to .344 in the month of August.

If acquired by KC, I’d assume that Martin would start the 2018 season with AA Northwest Arkansas and then be quickly promoted to AAA Omaha so long as he kept hitting the ball well. Best case scenario, you could see Jason Martin in the big leagues in September of 2018. In any case, adding Jason Martin would be a huge boost to an organization that is desperate for an elite level slugger in the advanced levels of its farm system.

Photo Credits: MLB.com

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