High Single-A Potomac Nationals shortstop Jason Martinson got off to a hot start in Woodbridge, earning a pair of Carolina League Player of the Week honors in April.
"I felt a lot more confident having been in this league already," he said. "Still a lot of work to get done but I'm doing everything I can to make that next jump.
Martinson has already hit seven homers and has 26 RBIs for Potomac. He has cooled off a little bit since his April run. His average stands at .253 through May 19. He has 120 at-bats against righties, averaging .217, while he is hitting .400 against lefties.
The Nationals organization was so high on the Texas State product that they invited him to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League at the conclusion of last season. Martinson used his experience at high Single-A as a springboard into Arizona last October.
"Being able to come up and be in this league for about half the season, I was able to see how the pitchers in this league want to throw," Martinson explained. "Then the opportunity to be able to play in Arizona, facing some top-notch pitchers who some have already been called up to the big leagues, others are in Double-A and Triple-A. It is definitely a good stepping stone."
Martinson learned a great deal from his time facing some of the best pitchers in pro ball, and that meant making the most of every pitch he sees in each at-bat.
"You have to be a lot more efficient in your at-bat," Martinson said. "Once you get up to the higher level (in Arizona), you can't miss one maybe two pitches. You have to go up there with a consistent approach. You can't miss on the opportunity that you get."
Martinson said he has worked on his advantage by getting to the park for early hitting and works with hitting coach Mark Harris to make sure "everything is set and on time to where I got plenty of time to recognize pitches and put a good swing on it".
He has continued to play shortstop this season, honing his skills and concentrating on every ball that is hit his way.
"Footwork, feeds, making sure everything is consistent on a day to day basis," he said.
A few of his buddies have made the move to Double-A Harrisburg, but that hasn't wavered Martinson's determination to get there himself.
"It is not tough," Martinson said. "All those guys deserved to be where they are at. I can only control my play on the field. It is definitely some motivation to be able to get back up there with them and play with those guys. I am happy they are up there and hopefully I can join them soon."