Growing up in a baseball family, Curve First Baseman Mason Martin has always had a passion for the game.
Martin’s grandfather, Neil Martin, played baseball in Florida in the early 1960s and for several minor league teams, including partners with the Los Angeles Angles and San Francisco Giants. His father, Chad Martin, played college baseball at Lower Columbia College and Texas State.
“These are my first two coaches – my father and my grandpa. They taught me pretty much everything I know. “ Mason Martin said. “I don’t think I would be where I would be today if I didn’t have her. Having these two types of information as a little kid is huge. “
While Mason Martin enjoyed exercising from a young age, it was his relationship with his father Chad Martin and his other passion – natural bodybuilding – that helped Mason Martin grow into one of the top power hitper prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates To develop organization.
Chad Martin is a famous natural bodybuilder with over 20 years experience and began taking his sons to the gym at a young age. They did bodyweight exercises, but 6-year-old Mason Martin didn’t share the same passion as his father at the time.
“I didn’t like it because he always trained for so long.” Mason Martin said. “I was just young, I saw no value in it.”
Martin is from Kennewick, Washington, and played baseball, football, and basketball as a child. He especially enjoyed baseball, and according to his father, he was really standout on the diamond.
“Since he was young he could always smash (the ball)” said Chad Martin. “He always had good power.”
However, Martin took his natural strength to the next level when he took a serious interest in weight training at the age of 15. Using his father’s experience and knowledge to his advantage, Martin began enjoying the gym – and seeing the results on the baseball field.
“When I got into high school, I started to take it a little more seriously” Mason Martin said. “I wanted to get stronger”
Martin played first base for the Southridge High School baseball team and was also a quarterback on the football team. While college recruits into both sports, baseball always came first.
“I loved baseball more. I wanted to play baseball and try to make it into the Major Leagues. “ Mason Martin said. “That has been my goal since I was very young, since I was in small league baseball – I’ve always wanted to play in the big leagues.”
Martin was selected by the Pirates in the 17th round of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He had an offer to play college baseball with Gonzaga but ultimately chose to sign with Pittsburgh instead.
“In terms of development, in my opinion (was) the best option for me” Mason Martin said. “I just wanted to get into professional ball and just play and develop.”
Martin experienced instant success in his first year as a professional baseball player, scoring a batting average of 0.307 in 39 competitions with the rookie-level GCL Pirates. His 11 home runs set the GCL Pirates single season record and he was named Most Valuable Player of the Gulf Coast League in 2017.
The 2018 campaign was very different for Martin as he split the time between Bristol and the Class A Short Season West Virginia. Martin’s batting average dropped to .220 and he gained about 20 pounds of unwanted weight, according to his father.
“It was really my first experience in the all-season ball” Mason Martin said. “I just didn’t get that until one day I finally looked in the mirror.”
After a warm chat with his family, Martin worked to get back in shape this off-season. After the learning experience, 2018 proved to be a turning point in his professional career.
“You learn a lot about yourself when you are finally so alone” Mason Martin said. “I’m glad I had this experience because it completely changed the way I think about diet, exercise and just the general mentality.”
Martin recovered in 2019 and scored 35 home runs – the best of all those interested within the pirates’ farm system and from any single-A-level player. He split the time between Class A-Advanced Bradenton and Class A Greensboro and was an All-Star of the MiLB.com Pittsburgh organization in 2019.
Since the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin used the time to develop his strength and body. For more than 100 days in a row, he, his father and younger brother Max Martin trained at home and turned their garage into a home gym.
“It was really a fun summer. We still made the best of it, even though everything was closed. “ Mason Martin said. “We like to do that, we love to train together and make each other better.”
The trio trained between three and six hours a day and mixed strength training, cardio, mobility training and yoga. They focused on weight training one body part a day before going on a bike ride, practicing baseball, and playing either tennis, pickleball, or basketball as a cardio activity.
“I love it and they have a good time no matter what we play.” said Chad Martin. “It was great fun, we had so much fun.”
While Mason Martin spent time doing punching exercises and playing floor balls during downtime, he believes that all of the cross training has also helped him become more athletic and a better baseball player.
This year, his first with Altoona, Martin is second in the home runs with eight. He posted an average hit of 0.260 and a percentage of 0.329 based on 40 games played as of June 24th.
“He always works hard” Curve manager Miguel Perez said. “He’s going to go out there and just give it all he has.”
According to MLB.com, Martin is number 14 in the pirate farm system. At 22, he is the eighth-ranked first base prospectus in the MiLB and was classified as having the best performance within the Pittsburgh farm system at the end of 2020.
“My only goal as a professional baseball player is to help the Pittsburgh Pirates win.” Mason Martin said. “I just want to get one step closer to that.”
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