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Interview with SBN USC site on Phillies draftee Kyle Martin

I spoke with Sam McDowell from our sister site Garnett and Black Attack, a U of South Carolina sports blog about their alumnus whom the Phillies drafted in the 4th round this year.

Not actually Kyle Martin.
Not actually Kyle Martin.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I'll start with a big thanks to Sam, who was gracious enough to offer some insight on Kyle and got me back answers to my questions far quicker than I have gotten around to posting them. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask them and I'm sure Sam would be happy to follow-up with what he can.

Kyle was drafted in the 20th round last year, but the 4th round this year as a Senior and he wasn't any significant overdraft. What was different about him this year?

I would have to say Kyle's biggest improvement from his junior to senior year is his power numbers. Despite showing some pop his junior year with 5 homeruns and 11 doubles, he didn't flash the power consistently. After he decided to return for his senior season it was pretty widely accepted that KMart would have to the be the guy. He produced in a big way by slugging .635 and smashed 14 homers and 12 doubles. What's even more impressive is that, despite often hitting into a shift, he still managed to hit .350 and have a .435 OBP.

How does Kyle Approach the game?

Kyle has a pretty good approach to the game. Despite one incident before the season opener that caused him to be benched for the first 3 innings (officially a violation of team rules; unofficially he was a 21 year old being a 21 year old), he has always shown a level of maturity and level-headedness that is quite impressive for a 22 year old. He's also a leader, not a vocal one, but he does lead by example. He rarely loses his composure in tight situations.

Often power hitters leave a lot to be desired apart from the power; how is the rest of Kyle's game?

As alluded to in the 1st answer, Kyle is a pretty well rounded hitter. The most underrated part of his game is his glove work over at 1st base. I always thought he was truly under-appreciated at 1st. Not much got by him.

In the SEC University of South Carolina faces a bit of a murderer's row of Pitchers between Vandy, Mizzou, LSU and Florida. How did Kyle appear against the better Pitchers in the division?

Kyle often brought his best work with against the top arms in the league. I remember the Florida series. Most of our lineup was struggling, but KMart hit two homeruns and had several hard hit balls for hits.

Did he alter his approach at all for the more advanced pitchers?

If there is one downfall to his batting skill, it is his bat speed. He usually has a hard time catching up to pitches thrown in the high 90s. Often, against more advanced pitching, he would overcompensate by starting his swing earlier. This would leave him susceptible to off speed pitches and vulnerable to ground ball pitches. 

What can Phillies fans expect to see from Kyle Martin?

I think the Phillies got a solid player in Kyle Martin. I don't know if he'll ever be a All Star or Hall of Fame caliber player. But I do think his ceiling is as an everyday player in the Major Leagues, where his floor is as a "AAAA" type player. However, with the doubts about his bat speed, he'll have to prove he can consistently hit mid to high 90s pitching. If he wants to make a break through in the big leagues there is one thing he'll have to do. Hit, hit and hit some more. It will be interesting to watch his pro career play out.