The Minnesota Twins got a haul at the deadline when they decided to trade José Berríos. Taking advantage of an aggressive market, they were able to get two top-70 prospects, acquiring Simeon Woods Richardson and Austin Martin.
The Twins hope that Woods Richardson can develop into the type of arm that Berríos was. The bigger question will be what type of player Martin will become at the major league level.
Unlike most top prospects, Martin’s performance at Double-A doesn’t jump off the page. With a .281/.425/.382 line in 55 games, Twins fans might be worried about Martin’s lack of power. But Martin might be the type of player that helped the Twins dominate the American League Central throughout the 2000s.
Martin’s greatest attribute at the plate is his patience. In 254 at-bats this season, Martin has walked 37 times, producing a 14.5% walk rate. That has gone up from his 12.3% clip during his 2019 season at Vanderbilt and caught head coach Tim Corbin’s attention.
Corbin gave an interesting breakdown of Martin’s approach at the plate during the 2020 draft, noting that he rarely takes the bat off his shoulder. While that approach could lead to deeper counts, it also helps him find a way to get in a favorable situation where he can drive the ball.
Corbin compares Martin to Anthony Rendon, who only spent 95 games in the minor leagues before making his major league debut in 2013. Rendon had elite patience at the plate, striking out over 100 times just twice during his career and becoming a hitter who flirted with 20 home runs at the major league level.
While Martin may develop power as he gets older, a more favorable comparison could be in a pair of former Twins.
A scout told Dan Hayes of The Athletic that Martin is “Shannon Stewart but with more walks.” That report checks out. Stewart was also an on-base machine and had a career line of .297/.360/.430. While Stewart was more of a singles hitter, he could mix in the occasional extra-base hit and deliver some punch at the top of the lineup.
The other obvious comparison? Joe Mauer. Although his number is retired, Mauer became a polarizing player because he didn’t hit for enough power. While Martin could be the same type of player, it’s possible that, at his best, he can hit for average and generate over 20 home runs.
If Martin can draw walks and provide a decent amount of power, that creates a solid top of the lineup with Luis Arráez. The Twins could then turn some of their solo home runs into two- or three-run shots and build on an offense that already ranks 13th in runs per game this season.
These players of yesteryear aren’t the sexiest names, but they helped the Twins dominate the 2000s. Although the game has changed, Martin could be the throwback player the Twins need to get back on top of the division.