Mason Martin(Greensboro Grasshoppers) named Pittsburgh Pirates Top Minor League Hitting Prospect from the 2019 Season/Former Grasshopper Michael King moves up to the NY Yankees

First baseman Mason Martin, who slugged 35 homers in 131 games this year between Class A Greensboro and Bradenton, was named Pittsburgh’s Hitting Prospect of the Year.

Martin batted .307 with a 1.087 OPS and 11 homers as an 18-year-old debuting in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2017. He struggled last season, slashing just .220/.336/.386 with 149 strikeouts in 104 games. But he bounced back in a big way this year, batting .254 with a .908 OPS, 35 homers and 129 RBIs between two levels.

Strikeouts remain an issue for Martin, as he whiffed 168 times in 556 plate appearances. But the Bucs believe the first baseman’s power is real — and that slugging potential alone makes him a prospect to watch moving forward.

“We love the power. We love the hard work that this young man has put in on and off the field. He’s continued to grow, to get to the power more consistently,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “He has high-end exit velocity. He can hit the ball hard. We’re working on getting him to hit it more frequently.

“There are some really positive signs on and off the field for this young man to become more than just a one-dimensional power hitter. He wants to become a good hitter who has that power. He wants to become a good defender, and he’s worked hard to continue to be a good teammate.”

On Thursday, the New York Yankees announced that they placed right-hander Michael King on their roster in Domingo German’s spot. King posted a 3-1 record with a 4.18 ERA in 23 2/3 innings with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.