JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Trinity Christian alum Austin Martin heard his name called as the fifth pick of the Major League Baseball draft on Wednesday, taken by the Toronto Blue Jays.
In the history of high school baseball players from Jacksonville, only Chipper Jones, taken with the first pick in 1990 by the Atlanta Braves, was taken higher in the draft than Martin.
Martin had a standout career at Vanderbilt, including hitting .392 last season. This year, he was off to another good start before the season was shut down, hitting .377 through 16 games.
Martin was a role player during his freshman and sophomore seasons and didn’t hit the accelerator on his career until early in his junior year. His former coach at Trinity, Gil Morales, said that he can pinpoint the moments that Martin turned the corner as a prospect.
The Conquerors, who won the state title in 2015, were playing against West Orange on Feb. 12, 2016 and ace hurler Tyler Baum, a UNC signee. Martin belted a homer off of him. Baum was a second-round pick of Oakland last year. Two weeks later, Martin faced Windermere Prep’s top arm, Austin Bergner and took him yard. Bergner, also a UNC product, was a ninth-rounder last year by Detroit.