When Chad Martin left high school in Lexington, Ken., he had one scholarship offer — Vincennes University, a junior college in Southern Indiana. Tuesday, after two years at Vincennes and two more at Indiana, Martin was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the tenth round of the MLB Draft.
“I was ecstatic,” he said. “It’s a great feeling and something I’ve been working toward for a long time. I’m a Cubs fan, so it was kind of nice to be drafted by a team so close to my hometown.”
Martin’s journey to the pros has gone a little bit differently than he might have thought it would in high school. He was a position player before college and has only been pitching for three years. However, listed at 6-foot-7, 240 pounds by Indiana, he certainly has room to build.
“I’m still growing as a pitcher,” he said. “I was given the opportunity in an all-star game in high school. I didn’t even pitch that year, but one of the coaches who selected me for the all-star game selected me as a pitcher and a hitter. I hit 87 (mph), which isn’t very fast, but being in control at the end of the game wasn’t even comparable to getting a game-winning hit or walk-off home run. Being in the game and winning was an incredible feeling.”
After two years at Vincennes — he played just one year — Martin pitched for two years at Indiana, where he was used in multiple scenarios.
“In college (I pitched) basically just where they needed me,” he said. “I actually closed during summer ball this past summer and I had a lot of success with that. I had like 18 consecutive scoreless innings. I absolutely loved coming out of the bullpen. Talking with the organization, I think I’ll probably end up being a middle or late inning relief.”
Martin started nine games for the Hoosiers in 2012 and appeared in 19 games overall, accumulating a 4.79 ERA and a 2-3 record.
After facing a big talent upgrade in his move from Vincennes to Indiana, Martin said he is ready for the even bigger jump that awaits him, adding that he has already faced some good talent throughout the country and in the Big Ten.
“The Big Ten doesn’t get as good of a reputation as it should,” he said. “I play summer ball with kids in the ACC and SEC and they’re good players, but the Big Ten is a good conference no matter what they say. Pitching against good competition day-in and day-out helped propel me to where I am.”
Now a new phase of Martin’s career is set to begin, as he will fly out to Arizona this weekend for a physical and “we’ll go from there.” He said he doesn’t know where the club will send him after his physical, but said he is excited for the opportunity to play for the Cubs.
“I’m really excited to get started and be apart of an organization that has so much history,” he said. “It has a big fan base. I wore Cubs shirt around town today and people have been saying stuff to me. It’s just a surreal feeling to play for (the Cubs).”