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All American Game  | Story  | 8/16/2022

Martin is Next SoCal Shortstop at PGAAC

Blake Dowson     
Photo: Roman Martin (Perfect Game)
The list of Southern California prep shortstops that end up first round talents is a rather famous one.

In 2022, there was Mikey Romero. In 2021, it was Marcelo Mayer and Carson Williams. Alika Williams was the SoCal shortstop representative in 2020. The list continues back through the years.

Next year’s newest member to the fraternity might just be Roman Martin, the shortstop who calls Whittier, California home.

“SoCal is known for that,” Martin said. “I’ve gotten to play alongside some of those shortstops. Carson Williams last year, seeing that level of competition and seeing what those guys are like was great. Knowing that I’m at that level, it’s something special. It keeps me motivated.”

Martin plays for Servite High School in the Trinity League, one of the most competitive and prestigious leagues across the country. Some of its members include JSerra Catholic, where 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis – you guessed it, a SoCal prep shortstop – went to school. Mater Dei’s notable alumni list includes several MLB players. Orange Lutheran is the school that produced Romero and the top prospect in 2024, Derek Curiel. It’s absolutely loaded with talent year after year.

This season, Martin was named co-MVP of the Trinity League after hitting .473. Not too bad.

Martin said that more than anything, the honor was validation for all the hard work he has put in.

“It was awesome,” he said of being named MVP. “Especially as a junior, knowing it’s one of the toughest leagues in the nation. It means a lot. It’s a testament to my hard work, and I’m just really proud to say that out of all those guys, I came up on top, so it was an honor.”

The MVP award was a culmination of sorts. Martin has really turned himself into an elite prospect in the past year and a half. The Perfect Game Class of 2023 Player Rankings reflect it. – in April of 2021, he sat at No. 339 overall in the class. In November of last year, he jumped all the way up to No. 40 overall. As of the last re-rank after he participated in Perfect Game’s National Showcase, he’s all the way up to No. 17 overall.

In the middle of all those rankings boosts, Martin turned in an All-Tournament performance in Jupiter last year, hitting an even .500 over four games for LVR/TB SoCal and working three walks on top of that.

The hit tool has always been there, according to Martin. He’s always been able to find barrels. It’s been the glove work, he said, combined with adding some strength in the weight room, that has led him to the success he’s experienced in the past year.

“It’s been my glove, for sure,” Martin said. “Just kind of trusting my athleticism. My arm has gotten a lot better. My knowledge of the game is improving. I just think overall I’ve become a stronger player…The game becomes a lot easier when you get stronger.”

Martin has a way of making the game look easy. His smoothness at shortstop coupled with an arm that sits low-90s across the diamond allows him to make all the plays in the six-hole. His bat, well that’s always been there, like he said. He hit close to .500 this year in arguably the best high school baseball league in the country.

It sure looks like he could be the next famous SoCal shortstop. He doesn’t feel famous yet, though. In fact, Martin is excited to get out to Phoenix to spend time around other great ballplayers, to soak up whatever he can like a sponge. He knows this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for him, no matter where baseball takes him in life.

“This is something I’ll get to tell my kids about, down the line,” Martin said of the All-American Classic. “Like, I got to play against some of the best players in a very prestigious game that has all these great, great alumni…I’m excited to make new memories with the guys. This summer especially, you play a lot against the same people, so getting to know them and making friends, it just makes it even more fun.”