Walker Martin is accustomed to winning. The Colorado prep multi-sport star has been a part of five state championship teams – three in football and two in baseball – at Eaton (Colo.) High School. The Eaton baseball team is seeking its third consecutive state championship this spring.
Martin is an impressive athlete. He was the football team’s starting quarterback and is the starting shortstop in baseball. On the diamond, Martin has an exciting offensive toolset and the potential to remain on the left side of the infield long-term.
Martin is one of the top players in the 2023 prep class. After performing well on the showcase circuit last summer, Martin’s skill set and potential make him an intriguing player entering this spring. Scouts project Martin as a likely early-round pick in July’s MLB draft.
“It’s crazy, but also, I’m pretty blessed and fortunate to be in a situation like this,” Martin said. “I always dreamed of this. My end goal is to play in the MLB and have a long and prosperous career. It’s pretty crazy to think there’s a shot after the end of high school. It’s surreal. I’m just trying to enjoy senior year and take it day by day.”
Scouts rave about Martin’s well-rounded skill set. He is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound left-handed hitting shortstop. He uses a smooth swing and clean hitting mechanics to hit line drives into the gaps. Scouts believe Martin can hit for average and power in the pro ranks.
Martin worked with former Nebraska baseball head coach Mike Anderson for about four years until he accepted the head coaching position at Northern Colorado last summer, Martin said. Anderson helped Martin develop his swing and gain confidence at the plate.
Martin’s offensive development has allowed him to thrive against premium pitching and position himself as a quality hitter in this year’s prep class.
“Obviously, the power is going to start coming just as I continue to grow,” Martin said. “I feel like that is improving. My overall hit tool is my biggest strength. I can hit to all fields, knowing situations and am able to cover the plate really well.”
Defensively, Martin has quality arm strength and speed, allowing him to cover plenty of ground at shortstop. He makes all the necessary plays at the position, but scouts believe he might be better suited at third base in the future.
“I believe I can stay at shortstop and the left side of the infield because of my athleticism,” Martin said. “I’m a pretty good athlete and cover a lot of the dirt. I can make different plays and throws. With development, it’s only going to get better. I hope to see a big jump in defense this year.”
Besides being a well-regarded draft prospect, Martin is an Arkansas commit. He committed to the Razorbacks over interest from other premier programs, including Texas and Louisville.
Growing up, Martin dreamed of playing at Texas. Troy Tulowitzki, a former Texas coach, was the Colorado Rockies starting shortstop for 10 years. Tulowitzki was Martin’s favorite player, and he hoped to play for him.
As the recruiting process played out, Martin felt Arkansas was the right fit for him. The program’s coaching staff, tradition, player development system and fan support played a role in his decision. He also wanted to play at a university that was easy for his family to access.
“I just felt like the other schools weren’t able to check off everything Arkansas did,” Martin said. “We are a Christian family, and we believe God does certain things for many different reasons. It stood out to us, and God made it obvious that this was the place for me. They can develop me and get me to the next level.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.