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Cubs Prospect Perspective: Riley Martin

The Illinois native could be a good under-the-radar guy.

Riley Martin
Courtesy Quincy University

Most of us are familiar with the term high-risk/high-reward. Way back when, the three-point shot in the NBA was considered a high-risk/high-reward venture. Until mathematics popped into the sport, and the shot with a 34 percent accuracy rate became de rigeur. Passes in the NFL, of any length, used to be a gamble, if you go back far enough. Some moves, though, are very low on the “risk/reward” consideration angle. The Cubs’ sixth-round 2021 pick, Riley Martin, was a very low-risk choice, and here is my look at him,

Riley Martin, left-handed pitcher

Born March 19, 1998, Salem, Illinois
Cubs’ 6th round pick in 2021 from Quincy University, Quincy, Illinois.

Quincy, Illinois is a Mississippi River town, and it’s moderately difficult to direct you there if you don’t already know it. It’s a bit north of Springfield, and quite a bit south of the Quad Cities. They have a university with a baseball team, and that was news to me last July. As I researched the Hawks program, if you are enough of a Cubs prospect fan, you likely know of another Quincy University baller. Blue Jays prospect Graham Spraker, who closed out the Mesa Solar Sox title championship with a scoreless ninth inning, pitched for Quincy. (Spraker could be a MLB Rule 5 pick when the Draft happens.)

Martin’s signing bonus was $1,000, which makes him low-risk. Had he walked the first four batters he faced as a professional, then retired, his low signing bonus provided enough leeway against the spending limits to make the second-round selection of James Triantos far more do-able. However, Martin wasn’t a fractional season professional flop. He pitched in eight games for Low-A Myrtle Beach in 2021, fanning 21 hitters in 14⅔ innings. He walked 10, and has things to work on, but Arizona Phil has Martin on his depth chart as a bullpen option in Myrtle Beach for 2022.

On Christmas Day, Martin went lifting.

Give him a full spring training, ample outings in 2022, and assess who he might be, as of then. As of now, Quincy University’s baseball team has over 4,000 Twitter followers, Josh Rabe and former member of the Cubs College of Coaches El Tappe as MLB alumni, and no Bleed Cubbie Blue Chief Draft Prep Correspondents.

I've heard positive things regarding Martin as a person, and lefties that can spin the ball often get chances to succeed. Martin will get his, and with his muted signing bonus, he's likely already a win from draft day last July.