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Phils catch 'The Jackrabbit' with 3rd-round pick

@SlangsOnSports
June 11, 2020

Arkansas shortstop Casey Martin went from being undrafted out of high school to a top 2020 Draft prospect during his three years in college. So the Phillies might have gotten a huge steal when they landed him in the third round with the No. 87 overall pick. Here are 10

Arkansas shortstop Casey Martin went from being undrafted out of high school to a top 2020 Draft prospect during his three years in college. So the Phillies might have gotten a huge steal when they landed him in the third round with the No. 87 overall pick.

Here are 10 facts you should know about Martin, who was MLB Pipeline’s 30th-ranked Draft prospect.

• Martin is often called "The Jackrabbit," a nod to both his high school team’s mascot and his own speed. He was 24-for-27 on stolen-base attempts in his collegiate career, and MLB.com’s scouting grades have him at 75 for speed.

That's nearly top-of-the-scale speed (the scouting scale goes from 20 to 80), so it's certainly an appropriate nickname.

• Less than a week after the NCAA canceled the remainder of the 2020 college baseball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin expressed his emotions with a song he played on the guitar and posted to Twitter.

Two days later, the Razorbacks cut a highlight video for Martin and the team set to the song, posting it with the title “We Miss You,” and caption "This. Is. Baseball." The phrase "This is Baseball" is one of the team’s mantras, the signature phrase of 18-year Arkansas PA announcer Larry Shank.

• During winter break of his sophomore year, Martin got a tattoo on his right forearm, in part, to pay tribute to two family members. The tattoo honors both his late grandfather, whom he never met, and his mother, who had thyroid cancer in 2015, when Martin was a sophomore in high school and is now in remission.

• Martin is the 18th Razorbacks player to be drafted in the top three rounds since 2010 -- he and teammate Heston Kjerstad, the No. 2 overall pick by the Orioles, joined the group this year. Arkansas also had two high Draft picks last year, second-rounders Dominic Fletcher and Isaiah Campbell, who went 75th and 76th overall to the D-backs and Mariners.

• Martin is an Arkansas native and attended Lonoke High School, where he was a multisport athlete, serving as a running back on the football team and competing in track & field in addition to baseball. He hit .595 with 10 homers in his senior season and was named the 2017 Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year.

• Martin's Arkansas career got off to a fast start in 2018, when he hit .345 and slugged .556, both of which led the team. He was an All-SEC Second Team selection, made the SEC All-Freshman Team and was named a freshman All-American by multiple outlets.

The Razorbacks made it to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., that year, and finished as runner-ups to Oregon State. Martin was a big factor in the team’s success, hitting .357 in the tournament.

• Martin began his sophomore season on the preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list. That year, he hit .287 with 15 homers and a .556 slugging percentage. His 145 total bases were third-most in the SEC and 15th in the nation. He was a preseason All-SEC First Team honoree and was All-SEC Second Team after the season.

Arkansas made its second straight College World Series appearance in 2019, this time losing in the first round to Texas Tech. Martin went 4-for-9 in the team’s Super Regional play, helping the Razorbacks earn the berth to Omaha.

• Martin began his junior season on the preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list and as a unanimous preseason All-America selection. He was also on the preseason All-SEC First Team for shortstops.

• From April 2018 through early March 2020, Martin started 102 consecutive games before that streak ended with him stuck in an early-season slump. At the time, he was hitting just .182, but he went 4-for-5 in his first game after the day off, and went on to hit .385 in his final six games of the season.

• Though Martin primarily played shortstop in his sophomore and junior seasons at Arkansas, he has some positional flexibility. He played third base as a freshman, and he has been touted as a possibility in center field by scouts, too.

"Scouts say they see me as a middle guy, so short, second, possibly third, possibly center field kind of guy," Martin said in April. “They always ask, ‘What would you say if we put you in the outfield?' Honestly, at that point, you’ll do anything to get in the lineup; it doesn’t matter where you play, you've just got to hit. I used to play outfield, so it’s not a big deal to me.”

Sarah Langs is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @SlangsOnSports.