Rookie OF Jason Martin recalled, back for second stint with Pirates
Jason Martin is back for his second stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. The rookie outfielder was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday as the corresponding move when the Pirates placed Gregory Polanco on the injured list.
With his speed and strong defensive reputation, Martin has a skillset that is suited nicely as a reserve MLB outfielder at this point of his career because he can be used as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement.
Prior to Saturday’s game against the San Diego Padres, manager Clint Hurdle indicated that would be Martin’s primary role in the near future. Even without Polanco, the Pirates have four quality options to start in the outfield – Starling Marte, Corey Dickerson, Bryan Reynolds and Melky Cabrera.
Part of the return from the Houston Astros in the Gerrit Cole trade 17 months ago, Martin got his first major-league action between April 5-30 earlier this year. The athletic 23-year-old went 8 for 35 with two doubles, three runs, two RBIs and two stolen bases over 17 games for the Pirates.
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Martin was regarded highly enough that he was the first choice for a prospect to be recalled from Triple-A this season – ahead of Reynolds, who arrived April 20 and has been one of the National League’s best rookies since.
Baseball America earlier this year rated Martin as the Pirates’ 11th-best prospect. He has 90 steals and 68 home runs with a .267/.338/.440 slash line in 625 games across seven minor-league seasons.
After posting a professional career-best .914 OPS in 68 games for Double-A Altoona last season, Martin has not fared as well offensively against Triple-A pitching (.220 average, .631 OPS in 104 games between 2018 and this season). In 2019 for Indianapolis, Martin is hitting .230 with five home runs, 17 RBIs and four steals.
“It’s been challenging,” Hurdle said of Martin’s offensive season in Triple-A. “He went down and trying to find his way offensively, continues to work defensively, to move around, run the bases aggressively. The offensive numbers are not what he wants right now. But he’s got an entire half of a season to work and continue to get better and improve.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .