If the month of May had just 30 days, we wouldn’t be talking about Jason Martin in this article. That’s how close the stats were going into the last day of the month between the Altoona Curve outfielder and Jordan Luplow, who was leading the Player of the Month race yesterday morning by a very small margin. Martin homered during the day and Luplow had an 0-for-4 night, shifting the lead to Martin. Both had outstanding months, but Jason Martin is the Pirates Prospects Player of the Month for May.

Martin was one of four players who the Pittsburgh Pirates received in the Gerrit Cole trade. With two Major League players in the deal and Colin Moran being a highly rated prospect for the Houston Astros, who also had big league time, Martin seemed to be an after thought in the deal. He has tried his best to let people know that he wasn’t just a throw-in piece in this trade.

After beginning the year on the disabled list due to a minor foot injury, Martin joined the Altoona Curve about a week after the schedule started, replacing the injured Bryan Reynolds. Martin got off to a slow start, but finished the month of April strong with an .848 OPS, and was named as our Altoona Player of the Month.

That strong April finished carried into May and Martin didn’t let up at any point. In 27 games, he hit .359/.409/.592, with six homers and 11 total extra-base hits. What really pushed him over the top for the Player of the Month was his defense in center field, which drew praise from Pirates GM Neal Huntington. The reports prior to him being acquired were split as to whether he could stick in center field, but so far he’s proving those naysayers wrong.

At 22 years old, Martin is still young for the level, but he might not last too much longer at Double-A. He already had experience at the level prior to this season, posting an .802 OPS in 79 games last year. His .848 OPS in 122 games at Double-A suggests that he is ready for the next level.

The Indianapolis outfield is slightly crowded, so that could hold him back, along with the fact that the Pirates want to get him more time in center field and would also like him to use his speed better on the bases. He’s too fast of a runner to have a 57% success rate on stolen bases in the minors. Other than that, Martin is showing that he could end up being a big piece of the Gerrit Cole trade in the near future.

PLAYERS OF THE MONTH BY LEVEL

Indianapolis – Jordan Luplow, OF (.310/.386/.620, 114 PA, 5 HR)

Altoona – Jason Martin, OF (.359/.409/.592, 116 PA, 6 HR)

Bradenton – Jared Oliva, CF (.318/.402/.588, 97 PA, 5 HR)

West Virginia – Oneil Cruz, SS (.323/.363/.516, 102 PA, 3 HR)

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