To say that Kyle Martin had a breakout 2021-2022 would be an understatement. He went from a good baseball player to one of the most sought-after unaffiliated ballplayers on the planet. It all came about because Martin finally had an uninterrupted entire season of unaffiliated ball. I say that because it’s easy to see that in abbreviated 2019 and 2020 seasons the same Martin was in the batter’s box but he simply didn’t have enough at-bats to break out in the same way he did in 2021-2022.
Martin’s season started in the same place it had ended, in the American Association with the Winnipeg Goldeyes. The first baseman and outfielder appeared in 99 games and accrued 343 plate appearances for the Goldeyes. He slashed .280/.371/.609 with 31 home runs and 25 doubles. He also walked 49 times and had only 82 strikeouts, which is a major improvement based on his affiliated strikeout numbers. He was in discussion for AA Player of the Year honors all year long and would have been a worthy selection for the award. Martin was one of the best hitters in the world all summer long.
If Martin’s season had ended in September it would have been a great season. Martin wasn’t content with his summer production and spent his fall in Liga Mexicana del Pacífico with Mayos de Navojoa. For the Mayos Martin had 222 plate appearances in 53 games. He was the best slugger in the league all season long and finished with a slash line of .261/.387/.572. He also tossed in 17 home runs, five doubles, and 31 walks to only 58 strikeouts. It was a great season unto itself but viewed as a continuation of Martin’s overall 2021-2022 season it would have been a fitting end to a fantastic year.
Martin wasn’t quite done yet as he also found himself in Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana for a three game stretch with Tigres del Licey. This would be the only blemish on Martin’s stellar record as in 10 plate appearances he slashed .100/.100/.100 with only one lowly single and seven strikeouts. An OPS+ of 31 isn’t good no matter how you slice it, but it was also only three games and 10 plate appearances. I’m not reading too much into that and neither should you.
Based on the available stats we have for Martin he finished 2021-2022 with 666 plate appearances and a slash line of .269/.379/.586 with 48 home runs and 30 doubles. Those are fantastic numbers and a key reason why Martin will be spending his 2022 summer in Liga Mexicana de Béisbol with Guerreros de Oaxaca. He should be a fantastic addition to the Guerreros and I fully expect him to bring his power and slugging game to Oaxaca. Martin has clearly found his groove in unaffiliated ball, and while I’m not sure how much he can improve upon his 2021-2022 if all he is able to deliver this year are similar numbers then that is more than any team could hope for. Martin will be fun to watch, just as he has been fun to watch the past couple of years. His play has made him a coveted player on the unaffiliated landscape and a player who Guerreros fans are going to love to watch while the rest of the league will become increasingly frustrated at the damage he doles out.
Lead photo courtesy of Iván Pérez – Prensa Yaquis