One way or another, Eric Martins was going to be a big leaguer.
As a player, the East Los Angeles native was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 17th round in 1994 out of Cal State-Long Beach, and turned in a distinguished 11-year career that took him to the Triple-A level for all or parts of four seasons, as well as some international stops in Taiwan and Italy.
Martins also had a memorable run in independent ball as well, first playing near home with Long Beach, and then serving as a veteran presence as the Somerset Patriots everyday shortstop in 2003, leading them to an Atlantic League title in his last season playing in North America.
Always a savvy player, Martins made the smooth transition to scouting shortly after his playing days were done, re-joining Oakland’s organization in that capacity from 2007-14, and also came back across New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series president and CEO Jeremy Booth, having shared many a field with him back when both were coming up in California.
“E is a good dude,” Booth said. “Man, is he a good dude. But he’s got a ton of knowledge and the relatability to players is elite. Thing about him is he could always hit. He made great use of the whole field as a player, separated himself by studying pitchers and understanding tendencies, and with the notable exception of one night where he tested me in the 4 hole made a living staying on that side of the field. For context, one season E and I were in a batting title race and finished within thousandths of each other, both at .327. We’re at their place and it’s not my first day with him, so I camp out in the hole that night. Sure enough he stays inside one well and hits it hard but it’s got side spin. It hits the grass and kicks back. I barehanded it on a hop, stepped on the bag and went about my night.”
Martins began a career in coaching starting in 2015, working as the hitting coach in Midland for a season before subsequent promotions to Nashville and then Las Vegas before ultimately working his way all the way up to the assistant hitting coach at the big league level for Oakland. Martins has since been promoted to first base/infield coach for the 2022 season, and regardless of role, has made the most with a frequently changing lineup as a small market team, and is still considered a rising star in the coaching ranks.
“Players will benefit from his knowledge and understanding of self,” Booth said. “He furthered that understanding of how to dream and create with his time as a scout (also with the A’s) before going to the PD side. He passes along a calmness and positivity to players they can rely on. Always positive and always a winner.”
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