Robert Martin. Not exactly a name that instills excitement and gets you feeling overzealous about a particular player’s potential like a Jazz Chisholm or Terrmel Sledge (sidebar: best baseball name of all time?), but Robby Martin? Sure, that’s a name I can get behind. At the very least, Robby Martin doesn’t immediately have me thinking of Robert Cecil Martin, an American software engineer better known as “Uncle Bob.” But enough with the name games, I’m here to tell you about Florida State outfielder Robby Martin and why he should be on your radar as the 2021 MLB Draft approaches in lockstep with subsequent first-year player drafts. Although I have touched on Martin in the past, I have yet to provide full-on analysis of his status as a prospect to this point, and with Martin entrenched in a terrific 2021 college season, there is no better time. For all you dynasty and keeper leaguers out there, be sure to utilize all of the analysis I have provided on the 2021 MLB Draft to this point — which can be found below. This information is intended to be used harmoniously to allow you to make the best possible decisions as you embark on your journey to dynasty dominance.
Preseason Top 50 College MLB Draft Prospects
Collegiate Corner: Feb. 25 | Collegiate Corner: March 18 | Collegiate Corner: April 15
2021 Draft Noise: Jan. 21 | Way-Too-Early College Top 25: July 16
Top Five Underclass Prospects: May 14 | Top 10 Underclass Prospects: May 21
To be truthful, I have been all over the map with Martin over the last calendar year. Then again, that isn’t too far off from the rest of the industry, as I’ve struggled to find a clear consensus of where the Florida State outfielder’s pro prospects lie as the MLB Draft draws nearer. Last May, I ranked Martin at No. 92 in my Complete College Top 100 in advance of the 2020 MLB Draft (this list included 2020 draftees, so it stands to reason that he’s ranked much higher in the two lists to follow). Then, in July, I placed him at No. 12 overall in my Way-Too-Early College Top 25 for the 2021 MLB Draft, before sliding him back to No. 22 in my Preseason Top 50 College MLB Draft Prospects list this past February. Why? Well, before diving into Martin and my overall assessment of his tools and status as a prospect, let’s look back to what I said about him in that Complete College Top 100 back in May:
“Martin is more of a puzzling case as the industry seems to be all over the place in terms of how he projects as a professional. He was a Freshman All-American in 2019 after hitting .315/.398/.449 with four home runs, 17 doubles, 34 runs, 54 RBI and two steals. But he hasn’t shown much in the SB department despite having at least average speed and the power is questionable, as he failed to go deep in 2019 Cape Cod League action en route to .167/.265/.233 slash line over 34 plate appearances. In 2020, Martin got back in the groove and batted .324/.439/.412 with one steal and five extra base hits, although he was once again unable to leave the yard. Martin holds a career 22.4 K% and 13.2 K% at the college level. He’s far from ready to excel as a professional but has a hit tool decent enough to fit into the top 100.”
So, that’s where we stood entering the 2021 college campaign on the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Seminole outfielder from Tampa, Fla. There were concerns about his power profile while his other tools were arguably not raising enough eyebrows to warrant being any higher in my preseason rankings. Now in his third college season, Martin is finally making his case as a legitimate top-10 college prospect in the 2021 draft class, if not higher, thanks to the development of his power that I expressed concerns about in the snippet above. So far this season, Martin is slashing .308/.386/.545 with nine home runs, seven doubles, 42 RBI, 33 runs and one steal across 35 games/143 plate appearances. That stat line comes equipped with a 23.5 K% and 11.4 BB%, with both representing just minor steps back from the respective marks of 22.4% and 13.2% Martin posted across his first two college seasons.
Robby Martin is the No. 76 prospect in the 2021 draft class.
But how would he scout himself?@baseballexis asked him!
He talks a hit-over-power approach, upping his speed and more.https://t.co/lPgiqzmLjI
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) April 13, 2021
That being said, it’s nonetheless impressive that Martin has been able to hit nine home runs in just 143 at bats so far in 2021 (HR every 15.9 AB), when he only left the yard four times in his first 284 collegiate at bats from 2019-20 (HR every 71 AB) — all the while seeing little-to-no change in his swing-and-miss tendencies and ability to draw walks. That enhanced power profile will go a long way in silencing many of his draft skeptics, despite the fact that all the pop I just discussed occurred with the metal bat. Luckily, Martin had the chance to get some reps in with the wood in the Florida Collegiate Summer League this past offseason, and while he didn’t show nearly the same power that he has in the 2021 college season, he at least proved he can hit with the wood to the tune of an .814 OPS. Across 48 at bats in the FCSL, Martin slashed .313/.397/.417 with one home run, two doubles, nine runs, seven RBI and five steals. I repeat, five steals! Where has that been so far in 2021, Robby!? He did strike out 15 times in 19 games, but the .417 SLG/.814 OPS was a vast improvement upon his .233 SLG/.498 OPS from 2019 Cape Cod League action.
Robby Martin continues to make hard contact here in the FCSL. Smokes a line drive single up the middle in a tough left on left matchup. pic.twitter.com/iW246dS048
— Brett Nevitt (@brettpn) July 13, 2020
As it stands today, MLB Pipeline has Martin tabbed as the No. 91 overall prospect for the 2021 MLB Draft, while Baseball America is slightly more bullish at No. 78. But even based off the latter, I think it’s a given that Martin outperforms that ranking and with a strong finish to the season, could slide inside the top 5o picks or even supplemental first round consideration. I would not be surprised if he ends up going in the top 30 picks, despite where he’s being ranked at present.
As it relates to fantasy baseball, Martin is undoubtedly a player to keep an eye on and earmark for first-year player drafts. Although we have not seen consistent base-stealing skills from Martin to this point, he has displayed the ability to swipe bags efficiently in the past (see above for 2020 FCSL stats). On top of that, he is a hit tool-first prospect (safe floor), with the emerging power only adding to the height of his potential ceiling. I can see Martin developing into a .280+ hitter at the big league level with 15-20+ homer pop and 5-10+ steals per season. The degree of power output remains the biggest question, but with his excellent 2021 season to this point, Martin is beginning to put some of those concerns to rest.
That’s all for this week, dear readers! As always, I’m happy to take this conversation into the comments section or on Twitter, where you can find me @WorldOfHobbs.