Max Martin rose to prominence as a legitimate MLB draft prospect at the WWBA World Championship last fall. During the showcase event, the prep shortstop had a loud offensive performance and showed quality defensive skills.
New Jersey has produced high-end prep pitchers in recent years. But the Moorestown (N.J.) High School shortstop has a chance to change that trend in July. Scouts project Martin as a potential second or third-round pick in this year’s draft.
“I am trying to balance having fun and taking it seriously,” Martin said. “Right now, I am in a good place. I don’t look at people who watch my games as a distraction. I’ve wanted this. It’s not pressure. Sometimes I want to be perfect, even though I know no perfect is, and I want to have fun when I am playing. You just need one team to really love you.”
Martin, a 6-foot, 185-pound shortstop, has a balanced toolset defensively. He has the athleticism, instincts and above-average arm strength to remain at shortstop long term.
“I’d say my defensive skills are the staple of my game,” Martin said. “I can direct the field and be the captain on the field. Defensively, that is my strongest point. I don’t want to be a really good shortstop and a mediocre batter. I want to be great at both.”
Offensively, Martin has a compact swing and uses a line-drive approach to drive the ball with authority to all fields. He does a solid job hitting the ball to the opposite field.
The right-handed hitter has proven success hitting against premium velocity but sometimes struggles against breaking pitches. Martin projects to hit for at least average power in the future.
“I know how to drive the ball the opposite way,” Martin said. “I also have power. It’s not like I have some crazy light tower power, but I can hit home runs. That is something I will develop as I get older and a little stronger.”
While Martin is drawing draft interest, he also has the option to attend Rutgers University in the fall. The New Jersey native committed to Rutgers during his sophomore year in September 2019.
Martin developed a quality relationship with Rutgers head coach Steve Owens during the recruiting process. He also wanted to remain close to home, so his parents could watch him play.
Rutgers is having a tremendous season this year. The Scarlet Knights are the top team in the Big Ten with a 37-12 record. They are in a position to claim their first conference title and NCAA tournament appearance since 2007.
“I didn’t feel like I needed to go away from home,” Martin said. “The goal is to play in the MLB. I know that whatever school I go to, it doesn’t matter. People will find you. I love New Jersey, and the Big Ten is a good conference. Rutgers is also doing amazing this year. Whatever happens, happens. Right now, I am just living in the moment.”
Do you enjoy reading Baseball Prospect Journal’s draft content? Support our work and become a Patron!
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for seven years. He has interviewed 356 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.