A's could lose former first-round pick Richie Martin in Rule 5 Draft


The A's added five players to their 40-man roster Tuesday, protecting them from next month's Rule 5 Draft.

One of the names not added, however, is one of Oakland's former first-round draft picks. 

With the No. 20 pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, the A's selected shortstop Richie Martin out of the University of Florida. Up until last season, Martin hadn't quite fit the billing when you look at his box score stats. 

Even dating to his days as a Gator, Martin's defense always has been above his offense. He's one of the smoothest shortstops in the minor leaagues, and it certainly makes up for some of his shortcomings at the plate. 

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At the collegiate level, Martin slashed .284/.376/.376 with seven home runs in three seasons. In four seasons since being drafted, though, Martin is slashing just .257/.340/.366 with 15 home runs. And those numbers spiked because of a breakout last seeason in Double-A. 

The 23-year-old finally figured it out at the plate in 2018 for the Midland RockHounds. Martin put together career highs across the board by batting .300 with six home runs, eight triples, 29 doubles, 25 stolen bases and an .807 OPS. 

His poor offense in the past has pushed him down prospect rankings within the A's farm system. According to MLB.com, Martin now is the A's third-ranked shortstop behind Jorge Mateo and Jeremy Eierman.

Martin is a great athlete, and his top-notch defense could give him a career in the majors even if his bat falls back again. If he continues rising as a hitter, he could be a big loss for the A's if he winds up on another team. 

The Rule 5 Draft takes place at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas on Dec. 13. Teams can pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League portion of the draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.

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