Pirates Prospects Daily: Mason Martin Showing a Better Approach

The Altoona Curve didn’t have the best of opening weekends, but the offense came to play so far against Erie.

In two games this week, they have already scored a total of 26 runs on 24 hits, winning both games.

Maybe the most impressive performance has been that of Mason Martin, who came to the plate six times on Wednesday, reaching safely in five of those. In true Martin fashion, he launched two towering home runs, as well as a double, giving him a total of four extra-base hits on the season. All four of his hits this season have been for extra-bases.

He also drew a couple of walks, showing great patience at the plate. It will always be a question of containing the strikeouts, but he has walked (five) just as many times he’s been rung up in his four games this season.

It’s all about baby steps, and he did start really hot last year before falling flat, but this season there has been more of a semblance of an actual approach, as opposed to just going up there hacking.

– One interesting note to watch as the season continues to unfold with Altoona, and Martin in particular. Calix Crabbe was the manager in Greensboro last year when Matt Gorski put a lot of the pieces together and had that breakout stretch.

Crabbe is now in Altoona and going to have an extended opportunity to work with Martin, who would probably be the only player that could compete with Gorski when it comes to in-game power, if not surpass him.

Henry Davis picked up three hits on the day, including his first home run of the season. Numbers easily fluctuate at the beginning of the season, so that kind of day really boosted an on the paper tough start for the former first overall pick. 

Beyond the paper numbers, I thought Davis had looked good to this point, and it was really just a matter of time before he started to string some hits together. 

That home run was 109 mph off the bat and a reminder that Davis rarely gets cheated out of a swing and gets every bit of a baseball when he squares up.

– A reminder that some of these prospects are in the minors because they are still working on things, Luis Ortiz was flying through his start on Wednesday before utterly hitting a wall in the fourth. 

After striking a hitter out, Grant Koch was charged with an error after trying to throw out a runner that could have also ended the inning. A runner would score on the play, and it sent Ortiz spiraling. He allowed a home run to the next hitter and then followed that up with 10 straight balls thrown.

The slider is really good, maybe the best singular pitch in the system right now, but the fastball still isn’t missing enough bats. The progress of the changeup will be huge, and despite the results he took a strong step forward, throwing it 15 times, compared to 20 for his slider. Collectively they picked up 10 whiffs (five a piece) on 18 swings while the fastball got just two on 14. 

Having changeup become an effective weapon would really help the left-handed problem he’s had, and maybe allow the fastball to miss a little more bats. 

Daily Video Rundown

Part of the offensive explosion, Liover Peguero went first pitch hunting and drilled this pitch in the fourth inning into the right center field gap, driving in a run. 

Not much offense for the Indianapolis Indians, but Travis Swaggerty continues to find a way to make an impact, making this nice catch against the wall to end the inning.


By Tim Williams

I’ve got some changes hitting the site in the next week. One of those changes will be my daily column moving to midnight. I’ll also have a nightly section here. Today’s column looked at how the Pirates’ depth is being tested early.

Williams: The Pirates’ Depth is Being Tested Early

**John Dreker broke down the Pirates’ Extended Spring Training roster.

**Here’s my article on Brubaker’s surgery.

**Anthony Murphy wrote yesterday about how whatever happens with the Pirates, quitting won’t be an option.

**Anthony also had early statcast observations for the Indianapolis Indians.


I have so much respect for Anderson .Paak’s overall musical talents. He was part of the Super Bowl halftime show last year, playing drums during the segment with Eminem and Dr. Dre. His combined project with Bruno Mars, titled Silk Sonic, was one of my favorite albums last year. I picked up his 2016 solo album “Malibu” last weekend on orange and white vinyl. That’s been one of my favorite new music discoveries lately.

The video below is incredible, where he’s not only creating his own beat on the drums, but singing on a scale that ranges into the headspace that controls the body movements. That’s all while having casual talk with his band mates, The Free Nationals, playing the leader role. Anderson .Paak is just sitting down, inside his head, casually multitasking and making music live in this video.

It’s the exact same brain skill needed to excel in the batter’s box or on the mound in a Major League stadium.

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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My boy Luis learning a lesson in maturity yesterday.

Murph was kind in his writeup here, poor guy just absolutely came unglued.

Seems like AAA is a better place than the show for dudes in their early 20s to inevitably work through the growing pains of maturation, but what do I know.


Banger content today, Murph.

Here’s a question…

Does Hank Davis refuse to adjust his stance relative to the plate because he’s such an extreme pull hitter, or is Hank Davis such an extreme pull hitter because he refuses to adjust his stance relative to the plate?

I don’t know how he could possibly stay inside the ball and hit it oppo with that swing, but I’m just some jag on the internet. I suppose it’s possible that the swing is fine, but because he stands directly on top of the plate even pitches on the outer half can be easily pulled.


Feels like extreme pull approach will be rather easily exploited in the show, no? He’s gotta find a way to stay inside at least sometimes


Conventional knowledge would seem so, we’ll have to see.


I think I stopped listening to new music around 20 years ago, but Silk Sonic has caught my ear, the combo of Mars and Paak is extremely smooth.


Yep, I still dream about an absolute BEAST combination at 1st/DH. Lefty McThump…


How about some love for Matt Fraizer? He hit the skids at AA last year and is repeating AA this year. Both he and MM are in the Top 10 for OPS at AA. Right now Fraizer is 3rd with an OPS of 1.371, 2 HR and 2 doubles, and Martin is 8th with an OPS of 1.250, 2 HR and 2 doubles.

Fraizer can play all 3 OF positions, and while having a bad year in 2022 he did improve his SB/SBA to 18/19.

Tim Williams

I mentioned Fraizer in my column yesterday.


Tim: Yep, I read this before that and have since apologized on that column.


Isn’t that nice to see a positive report on Mason Martin👍. Obviously he has alot of boxes to check, improvement, before he hops back on the radar, but sounds like some progress🤷‍♂️


And still only 23 – shocked me when I checked, but won’t turn 24 until Jun. Loved the point about Callix Crabbe. MM needs constant attention in order to become a capable hitter in AAA and MLB. Some facts –

His slugging percentage was .575 in A, .528 in A+, .481 at AA. and .410 at AAA
His BB%/K % was 13.0/29.0 in A; 10.9/32.3 in A+; 8.1/34.2 in AA; 9.6/35.9 in AAA

From AA to AAA he improved slightly in BB% from 8.1 to 9.6, but his Slugging percentage dropped from .481 to .410. Gotta find a way to improve the BB/K while keeping the Slugging up around .500.


Martin had 7abs against pitchers younger than him last year


He’s been a hot topic on P2 for so many years, it’s hard to understand he is still only 23. But, that’s good in that he has the years to get better at recognizing pitches out of the pitchers hand and seeing the ball all the way to contact – and neither of those improvements will include sacrificing power.


I am impressed that you could figure that out. Maybe there is an app or something but I would be in awe if you looked at each pitcher he faced DOB throughout the season.


I think you can find something close to that on Baseball Reference.


I am just imagining six computer screens while crunching the numbers. Or K1rainey could be Mason Martin talking in the third person to prove a point.


haha. baseball reference. i looked him up because i remember last year thinking he was working on contact. he batted .312 with 0 hr and lowered his k rate and upped his walk rate for the second to last month of the season. but went back to his slump numbers in the last month. But yeah then I saw that little tidbit


That gives me a little bit more hope that he can make it to the MLB.


Big Anderson Paak fan, he’s great. NPR released a tiny desk this week by dj Fred Again and it’s incredible though admittedly probably not everybody’s cup of tea per se. If you can find the time, about a half hour, you should definitely check it out.

Last edited 1 month ago by jimmyz
b mcferren

would be fun if Mason learned how to walk like Oneil has


Have always had high hopes for him as a potential power bat at first for the Buccos. Let’s hope he does, eh?


We have a RH hitting 1B, Malcom Nunez who is at AAA right now and just turned 22. He’s part of the return for Q and Stratton to the Cardinals. Johan Oviedo, 25, is part of our Rotation already and Nunez had a slash of .286/.381/.476/.857 OPS at Altoona after the trade. Be nice to have he and MM as our 1B/DH contingent.

At AAA he is struggling hitting only .233 – 7 for 30, but has only K’d twice in those 30 AB’s. He’s too good of a hitter to not catch on to the pitching patterns in AAA.


Nunez would be a really nice boost to our weak lineup against LHP


It’s probably the only way he makes it to the show. Baseball players who chase bad pitches are like dogs who chase cars.

I’d love for him to be another Alvarez with the bat.


As long as he doesn’t have Alvarez’ yips

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