Shortstop Jason Martinson has been an offensive surprise in 2012 but he still needs some work defensively if he's going to reach the Major Leagues.

Down on the Farm: Jason Martinson, Potomac's New Slugger

While the Washington Nationals struggle to find consistency on offense, their farm system has produced some excellent sluggers. One, Tyler Moore, is currently playing for the Nationals as a reserve. Others, like Corey Brown (AAA Syracuse), Destin Hood (AA Harrisburg) and Matthew Skole (Low A Hagerstown) are hitting the cover off the ball on Washington’s farm clubs.

None, though, are driving in runs like Jason Martinson, recently promoted from Hagerstown to High-A Potomac. In69 games with the Suns, Skole drove in a mind-boggling 63 runs. With an OPS of .840 (.398 on-base percentage), Martinson has made the most of his hits (.275 batting average) with timely situational hitting and power (10 home runs in 317 plate appearances). Perhaps he could stop by Nationals Park and give his big league brethren some pointers.

The Nationals selected Martinson, 23, in the 5th round of the 2010 draft. A 6’1″, 190 lb. shortstop from Texas State University, he has speed (23 stolen bases at Hagerstown this season in 26 tries) to go with his power and clutch hitting abilities. Like many youngsters playing on minor league infields, Martinson has struggled with the glove, making 13 errors.

Martinson’s swing is described as “short and flat” and he has power to both gaps. Like many others in the Nationals’ organization, he needs to figure out a way to cut down on strikeouts to be able to advance through the Washington system. It will be interesting to see how well this promising young infielder fares against better competition in Potomac, including any members of the 2012 draft class that other teams deem worthy of High-A competition.

Outlook for 2012: Unless he completely dominates at Potomac, look for Martinson to stay there the rest of the 2012 season. If he continues to excel, he could join the Nationals in 2014 as a utility infielder. More likely, he would be packaged in a trade for veteran help if the Nationals are making a 2014 playoff push in July.

Chances of Making the Nationals this season: Zero. He has to prove he can hit at higher levels and improve his fielding to have any chance of making the “Show.”

Tags: Hagerstown Suns Jason Martinson Nationals Potomac Nationals Washington Nationals

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