Payton Martin drafted by Los Angeles Dodgers
Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2022
Former West Forsyth star will join Dodgers’ rookie team after signing contract; will forgo college career at East Carolina
BY JAY SPIVEY
Every baseball player has a dream of receiving a call saying he has been drafted.
That dream happened Tuesday afternoon for pitcher Payton Martin, who graduated from West Forsyth last month, and was taken in the 17th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers at No. 525 overall in the Major League Baseball Draft.
After an anxious two days, Martin, who is listed at 6-feet, 170 pounds and had signed to play at East Carolina, received a phone call from a familiar number. It was the Dodgers saying they were going to select him.
“We’ve been talking a little bit, quite some time, the past 6-7 months,” he said. “It’s been up and down, I’d say, but mostly up. When they called me (Tuesday) my heart kind of dropped. They let me know where I was going. So, it was exciting for me.”
Even though Martin recognized the number he still was unsure if they were going to draft him there.
“Absolutely not, honestly,” he said.
As the call progressed, Martin, said the Dodgers, who had already drafted him, gave him the amount of money they could give him with that draft slot, which Martin said he wanted to keep private.
“They told me that they were happy to have me if I was able to join, and they said they saw something special in me,” he said.
According to perfectgame.org, Martin was the No. 82-ranked player in North Carolina and No. 500 nationally. To be drafted by the Dodgers, one of the cornerstone teams in Major League Baseball, and a team that is playing host to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Tuesday night, being drafted by them was surreal.
“I grew up watching the Yankees, but mom has always been like a second-team Dodgers fan,” Martin said. “So, I got pretty lucky to be drafted by them.”
Martin, who just turned 18 in May, has decided to skip going to East Carolina and sign with the Dodgers.
“I’d say I just trust in my abilities,” Martin said. “I gained a lot more confidence. Again, my mental mindset is just a lot stronger than it was. So, I believe I can compete at the next level.”
Had he chosen to play at East Carolina, he would’ve had to stay in college at least three years.
“I feel like if I go now, or if I go in three years, I think I’ll be good,” Martin said. “I think it’s going to be my lifetime job.”
Although Martin received a phone call from the Dodgers, he had to place a call himself. He had to call Greenville, N.C. to speak to Coach Cliff Godwin and the rest of the coaching staff at East Carolina to deliver the bad news that he wouldn’t be coming to play for the Pirates.
“Honestly, I felt like I let them down, sort of,” Martin said. “But at the same time, I want to do what’s best for me and my family. So, I thought that was best.”
Martin added that he plans to fly to out West to sign his contrat and will play for the Dodgers’ rookie-level team at the Arizona Complex League.
“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, so whatever it takes, that should be good,” he said. “It’s time to mature up.”