Prep Baseball Report

Inside the Clubhouse: Roman Martin

Brian Alvarado

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For senior shortstop/pitcher Roman Martin of Servite High School (Anaheim, Calif.), most days in the offseason begin sooner than the crack of dawn. 

The UCLA-signee starts his jam-packed days at 4:45 a.m. His schedule typically goes like this: workout, go to school, have baseball practice, workout again, go home and get schoolwork done, then get some hacks in with his hitting instructor.

This is the kind of work that Martin puts in behind closed doors that have resulted in success on the field. Ranked No. 1 in the state by Prep Baseball Report, Martin is a darkhorse first rounder in the upcoming 2023 MLB Draft. 

“It’s always going to be in the back of your mind,” Martin said of potentially beginning his professional baseball career after this upcoming season. 

Last season, Martin took home honors as co-MVP in the highly-touted Trinity League. He posted a .473 average with an on-base percentage of .586 over 70 plate appearances for the Servite Friars. Opposing pitchers were only able to get him down on strikes six times. 

Defensively, Martin’s abilities up the middle at shortstop are one of the best in the nation. Not only can he get into the right arm slot for a quick release, he’s also developed advanced footwork. On the mound, he’s even able to top out at 93 mph.

The Whittier, Calif. product has big decisions to make in the upcoming year about his future.

“I wake up early in the morning everyday and that’s my end goal,” said Martin. “At the same time, I want to focus on having a good senior year.”

However, Martin knows that this is only the beginning of his journey and that there’s still plenty of baseball to be played and work to put in.

Martin’s work ethic goes back to when he was a kid, taking after both of his parents. In some instances, he would wake up in the morning and see his father, Roman III, doing pushups and burpees. 

Rides to school would even include affirmational and motivational videos to get Roman in the right mindset to reach his goal of one day playing professional baseball.

“I see how hard my mom works and how hard my dad works. They pre-programmed me to have confidence and discipline,” Martin said. “Doing the extra stuff became normal for me.”

These tactics would pay off early in Martin’s career, as his father pointed to a time in his son’s childhood where things weren’t clicking just yet on the baseball diamond. For a moment, it had looked like another sport would be his niche. 

“I think he was better at soccer than baseball,” Roman III said. “But where everything kind of turned around for him in baseball was back when he was roughly around seven years old. He made the all-star team which was good, because he didn't make it the year prior, but he didn't play much. I told him the coaches didn’t think he should be playing, so he just needed to get better.”

A young Martin took those words to heart and ran with it.

“That turned it around. There was a spark, and since then, he's been a different person,” Roman III said. “Now he's more serious. He's a go-getter. He makes things happen on his own.”

Gabe Lopez, who spent time in the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres organizations, coached Martin with the Pico Pride and continues to serve as his infield instructor. He’s watched Martin develop into one of the best fielders he’s seen, even mentioning a comparison to Carlos Correa.

But his work ethic is what Lopez says has helped Martin find success.

“I've been around a lot of first rounders and he meets that criteria of maturity that I've seen, not only from a personal level when you talk with him, but also from a professional level with his work ethic,” Lopez said. “A lot of people want to do something or have an idea of how they're going to get there, but Roman's part as far as the execution of actually going out and doing those things that nobody sees, I think that's what's really separating him from the rest of the pack."

One thing about Martin is his special connection to his Mexican heritage. You can tell just by hearing his walk-up song, which is “Volver, Volver,” by legendary Mexican singer Vicente Fernández.

“He didn't speak a word of English until he started school,” Roman III said of his son. “He loves Vicente Fernández and he loves Juan Gabriel. He listens to all those Mexican artists that Mexicans truly love. He doesn't do that to be different, he does it because he loves it."

November brought a special moment for Martin and his family, as he was able to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Softball Confederation 18U Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier in La Paz and Los Cabos, Mexico. 

“It was in Mexico, which is where my family is from, so my grandpa and my family got to go,” Martin said. “I grew up going to Mexico all the time, so it was really cool.”

USA ended up beating Panama to win gold, and Martin had himself a tournament, starting all eight games at shortstop while hitting .381 with one homer, eight RBIs, nine runs and an on-base percentage of .548.

Not only did Martin get it done on the field, he learned what it meant to don USA across his chest.

“Our head coach Denny Hocking, he really made sure that we understood how serious it is and how important it is to be able to put these uniforms on,” Martin said. “You're playing for something much bigger than yourself."

Martin continues to weigh out his options when it comes to what the next step will be. Beginning his professional baseball career is certainly on the table, but he knows he’s in good hands if he decides to further his education and baseball career at UCLA.

“Coach Savage, Coach Gallego and Coach Ward, they're not only great coaches, but they're great people and I know I can trust them,” Martin said. “Whatever path is right, I trust that God will put me in the right hands. All I can do is control how I perform. Whatever situation I'm in, it'll be a win-win. I'm just lucky to be in this situation."

Wherever Martin ends up, his work ethic will continue to elevate him, not only as a player, but as a person.


SoCal Preseason All-State Underclass CA 01/07 Elsinore High School
Fresno Preseason ID CA 01/08 Euless Ballpark - Fresno City College
SoCal Preseason All-State Upperclass CA 01/08 Cerritos College
Far North Preseason ID CA 01/15 Butte College - Oroville
Inland Empire Preseason ID CA 01/22 Santiago HS
Peninsula Preseason ID
CA 01/22 College of San Mateo
South Bay Preseason ID
CA 01/29 Mission College - San Jose
East Bay Preseason ID CA 2/05 Chabot College -  Hayward