For the first time in a long time the other day, I found myself with some time to write about baseball. I wrote two or three articles and thought, “That’s good enough for the day, don’t want to run to the well one too many times.” Right as I was set to close my laptop and take it easy for the rest of the night I made the mistake of opening up Kyle Martin’s Baseball Reference page to see how his actual numbers matched up with all the highlights and random at-bats I had seen from him over the 2022 season.
Would you say that a .395/.519/.988 slash line over 108 plate appearances is pretty good? How about if I add in 15 home runs, six doubles, and 21 walks to only 23 strikeouts? Oh, you didn’t need those numbers, you were, just like me, adequately floored by the slash line. Watching Martin this season I knew he was doing good. I even went so far as to label Martin the hottest hitter on the planet at one point. I somehow never paid attention to his actual numbers flashing across the bottom of the screen when I’d watch him dig into the batter’s box. To say he’s the hottest hitter on the planet may be an understatement.
Martin has been virtually unstoppable for a Guerreros de Oaxaca team that is struggling to stay above water. They don’t have an amazing offense so there’s no real reason for Liga Mexicana de Béisbol teams to continue challenging the left-handed slugger. Yet, they continue to challenge him over and over again, results be damned. When he hit a grand slam over the weekend the opposing pitcher just stared at him, as if to ask, “How the hell are we supposed to get you out?”
What’s even scarier is that Martin hasn’t changed anything about his swing or approach. This is the same Martin that he’s been for the past few seasons. His short and compact swing packs plenty of punch. He covers the plate very well and has a very discerning eye with a bat in his hands. His speed remains severely underrated and truly is the one aspect of his game that he hasn’t fully unlocked. Think about that for a second, a guy slugging .988 and getting on base at a .519 clip has an aspect of his game that he still has yet to fully realize. That’s scary talk right there, it should give LMB pitchers nightmares.
Martin is a deadly hitter this year, he’s in a groove that appears to have no end. His progression from good to great to something else entirely has been fun to watch. I fully realize that LMB is not a major league, but they are a high-level league hovering right around the AAA to AAAA level. That’s why I have absolutely no qualms declaring that right now Kyle Martin is the best hitter on the planet. It simply doesn’t matter what pitchers are throwing his way or the fact that his team is sputtering. Martin himself is cruising along, smashing the crap out of the baseball on a nightly basis.
If you’re not already paying attention to what Martin is doing in Mexico then you need to rectify your mistake. There’s no clear reason why he’s not drawing significant interest from major league clubs. If not this season it wouldn’t surprise me if he finds his way to Nippon Professional Baseball and gets his first real crack at the major leagues next year. No matter where he ends up, Martin is going to hit the cover off of the baseball, that much appears to be a foregone conclusion at this point.
Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – MiLB.com