The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to terms with 17th round pick Mason Martin, Pirates Prospects has learned. Martin was drafted as an outfielder out of Southridge high school in Kennewick, Washington, and had a commitment to Gonzaga. He is expected to officially sign early next week.
This move comes right after the Pirates signed Dylan Busby, which finalized their top ten round picks, and made their bonus pool clear. They are now $57,400 over their bonus pool, which comes with a 75% tax on the overage. They can spend an additional $449,395 in bonuses — not counting the initial $125,000 to guys after the 10th round — before losing a draft pick. It’s possible that Martin was an over-slot signing, due to the timing of this move. I wouldn’t expect him to get all of the remaining money though, as I’ve heard the Pirates are either close to agreeing with, or have agreed with at least one other pick outside of the tenth round who also may be an over-slot deal.
Martin would be the third prep outfielder signed by the Pirates from this draft class, following second round picks Cal Mitchell and Conner Uselton. Those two obviously have a higher upside, and Martin represents more of a project. He was mostly a first baseman in high school, but the Pirates announced him as a right fielder. He’s played the outfield, along with third base, and has pitched as his team’s closer. The arm strength should play well in right field, and is wasted at first base. However, playing time could be tight in the GCL with Mitchell, Uselton, and Lolo Sanchez and Jeremias Portorreal from the international side. It will be interesting to see what the Pirates do to clear up space there.
The biggest tool for Martin is his power, which was described as plus-raw power. That would continue a trend in this draft where the Pirates were adding players with more power potential than in years past. Martin increased his power by adding 10-15 pounds in the last year, while also showing above-average bat speed. He will be an interesting project for the Pirates, adding another young player from the 2017 draft to the lower levels.