The Houston Astros have selected RHP Corbin Martin out of Texas A&M University with the 57th overall pick in the MLB Draft. This is already the second right handed pitcher taken by the Astros in the 2017 draft, as they selected JJ Bukauskas with the 15th overall pick in the 1st Round.
So far, it seems that pitching was a top priority going into the draft for the Astros and they certainly have addressed the need so far. You could see why general manager Jeff Luhnow wanted to stock up on young arms this year, as the Astros are struggling to find enough pitchers at the major league level with all the injuries piling up in the starting rotation. Now, with Bukauskas, Martin, and Forrest Whitley, the future of the Astros starting pitching looks bright once again.
Unlike Bukauskas, who seemed destined for the majors even before the moment he stepped foot on campus at North Carolina, Martin had to go out and earn the moment he enjoyed tonight when he was selected by the Astros. During the offseason after his freshman year at A&M, Martin put in work out at the Alaskan Summer League and really improved his game.
Under the tutelage of a great head coach, Rob Childress, at Texas A&M, Martin progressed a lot from his freshman to junior seasons, putting him in the position that he's in tonight. In 86 total innings at Texas A&M this season, Martin posted a 3.35 ERA and 1.41 WHIP with 94 strikeouts and 37 walks. This was a significant improvement from his 5.47 ERA in his sophomore season in College Station.
Martin is a bit taller than Bukauskas at 6 feet, 3 inches and his fastball has a bit more zip on it, sitting at anywhere from 96 to 98 MPH. Martin sometimes dials the velocity back as a starter in order to focus on his command, but still the pitch comes in anywhere from 91 to 95 MPH. The main difference between Martin and Bukauskas is that Martin does not have the same dominant secondary pitch like Bukauskas' slider. While Martin's power curveball is definitely a plus pitch for him, he still needs to harness it a little more in order to make it an elite strikeout pitch.
Unfortunately, Martin will need a bit more development as a starter in the minor leagues after spending most of his college career coming out of the bullpen. I'm sure the Astros will want to develop Martin as a starter, but it is nice to have some flexibility with him as a bullpen option. Part of Martin's development will be developing his command, as his WHIP was too high in college to last as a starter in professional baseball. Harnessing his fastball, as well as further developing his power curve, slider, and changeup should improve his ability to get hitters out as it will diversify his approach.
All in all, Astros fans should be happy to have snagged what some considered a back end of the first round pick in the middle of the second round. Martin should be ecstatic to be pitching professionally near his home town of Cypress, Texas and the Astros will be happy to have more pitching depth in their system.
If you want to watch more of Corbin Martin, he will be pitching for Texas A&M this weekend and maybe beyond that during the College World Series in Omaha.
Oh by the way, thanks for that extra pick St. Louis. Chris Correa, you the real MVP.