The Padres claimed outfielder Nick Martini off of waivers from the Oakland Athletics, and now he is on the roster.
With July 31st being the hard trade deadline now, very little transactions have been made in August this season. That being said, thanks to waivers, Nick Martini was playing for the Athletics on August 11th and now is a San Diego Padre.
Martini is 29 years old and was drafted in the seventh round in 2011 by the Cardinals out of Kansas State.
The question is, what can he bring to the table for the Friars?
He is a left-handed outfielder who has played the majority of his major league innings in left field. Defensively, he is solid but not spectacular with one Defensive Run Saved in 326 innings in left field. The Padres have expressed their desire to add more left-handed outfielders (see the trade for Taylor Trammell). San Diego does have Travis Jankowski, but he is down in Triple-A still trying to find his groove after an extended stay on the Injured List.
He did play more minor league games in center field than in left; perhaps the Padres view him as a short-term option in center.
To make room for OF Nick Martini on the 25-man roster, the Padres have optioned RHP Trey Wingenter to Double-A Amarillo.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 29, 2019
With the bat, Martini won’t jump off the page with his statistics. He did have a solid showing in 55 games in 2018. He hit .296 with a .811 OPS and 127 OPS+. He does not have much power to speak of, with just two career homers in 61 major league games and his career-high in the minor leagues was eight in Triple-A this season. He did have nine doubles and three triples last year as well with the A’s.
He does not have the speed that Jankowski or prospect Trammell do, with zero stolen bases to his name in the bigs, but he can provide some life off of the bench and balance a righty-heavy lineup. He had a .837 OPS in 352 career games in Triple-A, so he knows how to get on base and make an impact despite his lack of power.
What he brings offensively is a good approach at the plate. His walk rate was nearly at 15 percent in Triple-A this season (for reference, Bryce Harper has a 15.2 percent walk rate this year, among the highest in baseball). Martini posted a solid minor league career on-base percentage of .367.
Martini is certainly controllable, not being eligible for arbitration until 2022 and will not be a free agent until 2025. His stay in San Diego will likely be brief but crazier things have happened. The Friars will give him a fair opportunity to stick on the roster.