The popular thought when Arkansas’ baseball season was halted last month was shortstop Casey Martin would be joining teammates Heston Kjerstad and Casey Opitz in going to professional ball after the MLB Draft.
That may still happen, but Martin left a crack there Tuesday on ESPN Arkansas’ Halftime with Phil Elson and Matt Jenkins.
“Honestly I haven’t even made a decision yet,” Martin said. “That’s a big decision. From what I’ve heard they’ve dropped the draft to five rounds now. They decide something one day, then choose something else the next. It’s kinda in the air right now. I have all possibilities locked and loaded.”
Again, that really doesn’t mean anything one way or the other. Everybody has an opinion but the current COVID19 pandemic that has shut everything down has Martin dealing with something new.
“Without baseball you feel lost,” Martin said. “I’m just lost at this point.”
If you’re still playing baseball nearing the end of your junior year in college it’s become a lifestyle more than anything else.
“Honestly I can’t tell you the last time I haven’t been playing baseball around this time,” he said. “There’s probably never been a time since I started baseball.”
Elson, the play-by-play announcer for Hogs’ baseball, asked Martin what area of his game he felt needed work and it produced a remarkably candid response.
“Probably my pitch recognition,” he said. “We all know I struggled with that at times.”
Then it turned into a deep-dive hitting clinic.
“You’ve got to train your eyes,” Martin said. “Obviously you’ve been doing that since you’re little and just playing baseball a whole lot. We’ve got some VCR sets at the field to help train eyes to pick up the spin out of the hand. You look for different slots between the hands turned. Do they hide the ball better … do they not?
“You just go back on video and look at little things. Just keep your head still which goes back to training your eyes. You’ve got to keep your eyes in a locked position and you can’t be looking at every other place. (The pitcher) arm slot is a big deal. There’s usually a little square window and that’s usually the best place where you can pick up the spin out of their hand.
“You’ve just got to continue to train your eyes. It’s a lot easier said than done. Seeing pitches and not swinging is probably the best thing to do.”
The MLB draft is tentatively scheduled for July, but details are on essentially on hold due to the current global health crisis.