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Nick Loftin vs. Casey Martin: 2020 MLB Draft Prospect Showdown, Middle Infield Rankings

Leading up to the 2020 draft on June 10, we’ll preview each position group by comparing and contrasting two of the top players in the mix. Today is middle infielders, led by Nick Loftin and Casey Martin

Previous installments: 

Zac Veen</a></a> Vs. <a href=’/players/7472-logan-salow/’ class=’player-linker-link mce-player-linker’><a href=’/players/7472-logan-salow/’ class=’player-linker-link mce-player-linker’>Garrett Mitchell</a></a>: 2020 MLB Draft Prospect Showdown, Outfield Rankings”>Outfielders | Blaze Jordan</a></a> vs. <a href=’/players/8640-jordan-walker/’ class=’player-linker-link mce-player-linker’><a href=’/players/8640-jordan-walker/’ class=’player-linker-link mce-player-linker’>Jordan Walker</a></a>: 2020 MLB Draft Prospect Showdown, Corner Infield Rankings”>Corner Infielders| Reid Detmers</a> vs. <a href=’/players/6819-garrett-crochet/’ class=’player-linker-link mce-player-linker’>Garrett Crochet</a>: 2020 MLB Draft Prospect Showdown, LHP Rankings”>Lefthanders| Mick Abel vs. Jared Kelley: 2020 MLB Draft Prospect Showdown, RHP Rankings”>Righthanders| Patrick Bailey vs. Austin Wells: 2020 MLB Draft Prospect Showdown, Catcher Rankings”>Catchers

Hitting: Martin’s freshman season with Arkansas was more impressive than any single season Loftin has produced with Baylor, but Loftin’s approach is more mature, he has fewer holes in his swing and significantly fewer swing-and-miss concerns than Martin. EDGE: Loftin

Power: While Loftin did show increased power production during the truncated 2020 season, Martin has double-digit home run totals in each of his two full college seasons, while Loftin’s single-season high was just six. Martin’s collegiate isolated slugging percentage mark is .235 compared to just .161 for Loftin. EDGE: Martin

Speed: Scouts have called Martin a double-plus runner, and that has translated to 24 stolen bases in 27 attempts during his collegiate career, which is good for an impressive 89 percent success rate. Loftin is more of an average runner. EDGE: Martin

Fielding: Both Martin and Loftin have above-average defensive potential, but they get to it in significantly different ways. Martin is faster and has louder tools that give him more range and a chance to make highlight-reel plays, while Loftin’s internal clock, hands and defensive instincts are more polished and reliable. We lean toward the more consistent defender to settle the tie, and that’s Loftin, who makes all the routine plays. EDGE: Loftin

Arm: Both players have been described as having solid-average or above-average throwing arms, so this category is a push. EDGE: Draw

X Factor: Historically, teams have placed a premium on being a shortstop and performing with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. While neither Martin nor Loftin handled shortstop for Team USA in 2019—that was Arizona State’s Alika Williams—Loftin was on the team in a utility role and hit .292/.280/.583. EDGE: Loftin

Scout’s take on Loftin: “He’s a good player. Clean game, clean swing. He has probably a solid-average to above-average tool set. There’s no plus tool. He’s just good makeup, good instincts and probably a 55 hit tool.”

Scout’s take on Martin: “Martin fits tools-wise with the guys in the top 10. If someone is confident he will actually be a hitter and not just a power guy, and that he stays at shortstop, he goes extremely well . . . Speed plays as a 70 when they let him go on the bases.”

SPOTLIGHT: Top 2020 Middle Infielders

Strength: 2 stars

A lack of standout high school shortstops diminishes the appeal of this year’s class of middle infielders, especially with perhaps just two pure shortstops—Nick Loftin and Ed Howard—slated for the first round. Nick Gonzales could be a special hitter but faces a probable move to second base.

First-Round Talents
No. Rank Player Pos School State HIT POW RUN FLD ARM
1 5 SS New Mexico State NM 60 55 55 50 50
2 20 SS HS—Mount Carmel IL 40 50 50 60 60
3 27 SS Arkansas AR 40 55 70 55 55
4 29 SS Baylor TX 50 50 50 55 55
Second-Round Talents
No. Rank Player Pos School State HIT POW RUN FLD ARM
5 31 SS Arizona State AZ 50 40 50 60 55
6 33 SS Mississippi State MS 45 55 60 50 55
7 40 2B Mississippi State MS 55 55 45 45 50
8 44 SS HS—Kingwood TX 50 55 60 55 70
9 59 Colt Keith SS HS—Biloxi MS 50 55 60 50 60
10 62 SS HS—Phoenix AZ 55 50 60 55 55


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