The Astros continue to accumulate excellent value on day one, selecting their second college power arm with Aggies righty Corbin Martin. A 6’3”, 200 pound starter and reliever, Martin gets great action on his fastball which sits in the low nineties as a starter and the mid to upper nineties as a reliever. His curveball is also a plus pitch with tight sweeping break, and could induce a lot of whiffs at the next level. He also shows feel for a slider and change, the latter of which has shown notable improvement recently.
The right-hander has a simple delivery without a ton of effort, but does look a bit loose in the lower half and doesn’t always hit his landing spot with a great degree of consistency. His greatest weakness is command- 37 walks in 86 innings- but he has the potential to dominate multiple times through the order if he can tighten things up.
Like the Astros first round pick tonight, J.B. Bukauskas, Martin has a high floor as a prospect as he is close to big league ready as a reliever with his fastball-curveball combination. He could help the big league club as early as 2018 if the front office wants to fast track him, but given his upside if he can improve his change, slider, and command it makes sense to be patient with his development and bring him along slowly as a starter, at least at the outset of his career.
Martin was seen by many as a late-first round talent and was expected to be selected somewhere in the thirties. He represents an excellent value at 56, but may not command too much of a signing bonus considering he has been selected by his hometown team. Martin and Bukauskas will now join Forrest Whitley in the lower ranks of the minor leagues to form an exciting trio of young fireballers that bear watching over the coming seasons. Interestingly, they have not selected a left-handed pitcher yet tonight, which was identified as a big need in the pre-draft process. It’s not totally shocking that they have selected two right-handers, however, as both slid significantly from their projected draft ranges.
I would grade the selection of Martin a B+/A- as he should be a contributor at some point down the line, but could have limited value if he ends up in the bullpen. He has the upside of a high-end #3 starter if he can remain in the rotation and will be among the best arms in the system once signed.