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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: 

Outfielders | Corner Infielders| Lefthanders| Righthanders| 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
15Nick GonzalesSSNew Mexico StateNM6055555050
220Ed HowardSSHS—Mount CarmelIL4050506060
327Casey MartinSSArkansasAR4055705555
429Nick LoftinSSBaylorTX5050505555
Second-Round Talents
531Alika WilliamsSSArizona StateAZ5040506055
633Jordan WestburgSSMississippi StateMS4555605055
740Justin Foscue2BMississippi StateMS5555454550
844Masyn WinnSSHS—KingwoodTX5055605570
959Colt KeithSSHS—BiloxiMS5055605060
1062Carson TuckerSSHS—PhoenixAZ5550605555

phillies-900x635.jpg (1)

Phillies' Casey Martin Looks To Take Step Forward In 2022

The 2020 third-rounder is fully healthy heading into his second professional season.

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