When the Cyclones season began on June 20, many questions were asked about how Cyclones
left fielder Dustin “Sunshine” Martin was going to make the transition from college to pro baseball. While no
one doubted his cannon of an arm or his speed on the bases, many were concerned that the confident and exuberant 22-year-old
would be too busy trying to smoke homers over the wind guarded right field wall at Keyspan to be successful.
Hitting .329 with two homers and 27 RBI’s
through his first 46 games this season, Martin has not only shown the critics he can consistently hit for average in the pros,
he has also made a lasting impression on both the Cyclone coaching staff and the NY-Penn League, being named player of the
week on August 7.
Before the season started, the self-assured
Martin understood his role on the team and knew exactly what he could provide the team with.
“I try to play a fast game,”
said Martin, the Mets 26th Round Pick this year, who hit .389 in his last year at Sam Houston
State. “Steal a lot of bases; hit for average, hit for power and try and
mix it all in.”
Even before seeing him play, Cyclones manager
George Greer knew he had something special in Martin and kept him in the line up even when he wasn’t hitting.
“He’s the straw that stirs
the drink,” said Greer. “He’s there when we need him. He comes through with his bat and his legs. He’s
just been awesome for us.”
Originally looking as if he was trying
to hit a home run every time he was at the plate this season, Martin didn’t exactly start his pro career offensively
the way he would have liked. Nevertheless, with Martin’s sound defensive skills and keen eye at the plate, Greer placed
him in the leadoff spot and his average shot from .224 to as high as .278.
However, after Joe Holden regained his
form after being sent to the team from Hagerstown and was inserted back into the one hole, Martin was expected to be the team’s
three hitter and after a few games there, he seemed comfortable until disaster struck; a 26-inning marathon against the Oneonta
Tigers managed to claim 37 points on the youngster’s average, thanks to an 0-11 performance and brought it down to .241,.
“I was at an all-time low. I never
had such a bad game,” said Martin. “I was wondering how I was going to come back from that and I wound up going
4 for 4 the next day.”
Hitting .403 [29 for 72] since what he
considers the worst game of his career, Martin has been a huge factor in the Cyclones recent success, with the team going
14-2 in their last 16 games, erasing the remnants of an 0-7 start, claiming first place in McNamara Division.
While many players his age would take the
humble route in describing such moderate success through their first year of pro baseball, Martin has shown that he loves
all the glamour and attention someone gets when they’re leading their team in hits, batting average, on-base percentage
and runs batten in.
“This is exactly where I expected
to be,” said Martin. “Hopefully, I keep it up.”
All Photographs for this article were taken by Conroy Walker