JUPITER, Fla.—The World Wood Bat Championship—known colloquially as just “Jupiter”—can serve several purposes. In some cases, it gives evaluators their final looks at known prospects before the winter, a look to see which players are progressing as the draft comes closer. There are also cases in which teams didn’t get as much of a look at players in the summer, and so scouts aim to get a better understanding of these players here.
Padres Scout Team/Chandler World has a number of players that drew attention on Friday, as the team played its first two games of the tournament. Shortstop Austin Martin (Trinity Christian Academy, Jacksonville) and outfielder Heliot Ramos (Puerto Rico) both have a chance to be high draft picks. Martin dealt with minor injuries early in the summer, and his arm wasn’t at full strength during the Tournament of Stars; Ramos was the star of the Under Armour All-America Game, and was going to be a key player follow at the East Coast Pro Showcase, but he missed the event due to a family emergency.
In Friday’s two games, Martin went 1-for-5 with a double and a walk. His double came on a mid-80s fastball that was left up, and he pulled the ball with authority to left field; the exit velocity was 98 mph according to TrackMan Live. Martin also showed first step quickness at shortstop, and smooth, graceful actions. He showed a good internal clock and body control, and flashed above-average arm strength.
Ramos had three hits in six trips to the plate on Friday, though one could have been scored an error. In the Padres’ first game, Ramos expanded the strike zone a bit, chasing a few high pitches; with the rising sun directly in players’ eyes in the backfields, it’s understandable that hitters weren’t seeing the ball as well. In the second game, on a field with a much less daunting view of the sun, Ramos played well. He showed plus speed on a ground ball, and hit two hard ground balls, one through the right side of the infield that left his bat at 103 mph according to TrackMan Live.
Scouts will continue to monitor Ramos and Martin throughout the week, but a few other prospects from the Padres Scout Team have stood out as well. D.J. Poteet (Northview High, Johns Creek, Ga.) showed bat speed and leverage, driving a home run out to right field in Game 2, and Andres Santana (Doral Charter High, Fla.) showed loose, flexible wrists and a knack for making contact—he went 4-for-5 with a double, a home run and a walk on Friday.
The Padres have a very strong team here, and they appear to be contenders to win the tournament after a 2-0 start.