Hoppers 2019 Mason Martin (copy)

Mason Martin, a 20-year-old first baseman, hit .262 with 23 home runs and 83 RBIs in 82 games for the Greensboro Grasshoppers before his promotion on July 9. Martin was named to the South Atlantic League’s annual season All-Star Team.

GREENSBORO — Mason Martin has been named to the season-ending 2019 South Atlantic League All-Star Team.

Martin, a first baseman who turned 20 in June, batted .262 with 23 home runs and 83 RBIs in 82 games for the Greensboro Grasshoppers this season.

The lefty-hitting slugger was promoted to Bradenton of the advanced Class-A Florida State League on July 9. But 49 days after the promotion, Martin still leads the Sally League in home runs and RBIs.

Martin's combined statistics with Greensboro and Bradenton —  a.252 batting average, 30 doubles, 34 home runs, 125 RBIs in 128 games — rank him among pro baseball's leaders.

Martin, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 19 prospect in Pittsburgh's farm system, leads all of professional baseball (MLB and minors) in RBIs.

He also ranks fifth in the minors in home runs. The top four are all Class-AAA players: Reno's Kevin Cron has 38 homers, Las Vegas' Seth Brown has 37, while both Albuquerque's Sam HIlliard and Sacramento's Jaylin Davis (a Northeast Guilford and Appalachian State alumnus) have 35.

Martin was the Hoppers' lone selection to the 14-player season All-Star Team. He, infielder Rodolfo Castro, catcher Grant Koch and pitchers Brad Case and Alex Manasa were all mid-season All-Stars picked to play for Northern Division team.

The end-of-year All-Star Team was voted on by the 14 South Atlantic League teams' field managers and general managers, as well as 28 sports writers and broadcasters for a total of 56 voters.

Greensboro second baseman Ji-Hwan Bae was a notable snub. Pittsburgh's No. 8 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, the 20-year-old middle infielder from South Korea leads the Sally League with a .326 batting average and could become the first Hopper to win a batting title since Brent Keys hit .335 in 2012.

Bae served a 30-game suspension in April and May for a domestic violence conviction in South Korea stemming from a 2017 New Year's Eve assault on his then-girlfriend.

Since his return, Bae has played 81 games (40 at second base, 33 at shortstop and 8 as a designated hitter). He's made just one error at second base, and he has better offensive numbers (.326, 25 doubles, 30 steals, .408 on-base) in 44 fewer games than All-Star Greg Cullen (.271, 23 doubles, 1 steal, .397 on-base) of Rome. 

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Contact Jeff Mills at (336) 373-7024, and follow @JeffMillsNR on Twitter.

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