Hitting just shy of .300 over his last 10 games, motivated Marty Costes is making the most of a second opportunity with the Houston Astros organization.
“I’m better prepared for this now than I would have been a year ago. Looking back, it was the best possible decision I could have made,’’ the Quad-Cities River Bandits outfielder said. “I’m grateful that the Astros stuck with me and now, I’m doing what I can to show them they made a good decision, too.’’
Costes was selected by Houston in each of the last two baseball drafts, opting to return to Maryland for his junior season after be taken in the 25th round in 2017 before being chosen by the Astros again in the 22nd round in this year’s draft.
He chose not to sign a year ago, providing him with the chance to play on a championship team in the ultra-competitive collegiate Cape Cod League.
Costes believes that experience positioned him well for what he is experiencing now in the Midwest League.
“Playing in the Cape Cod League was probably the best baseball experience of my lifetime,’’ Costes said. “It gave me a chance to go against great pitching every game and be a part of a team filled with players not unlike the players I’m going up against every day now. It was perfect preparation.’’
Costes played last summer for Brewster, where he was a teammate of current Quad-Cities teammate Chandler Taylor. The team finished third in its division but played its way to the league title, advancing to the championship series with a game-winning homer hit by Costes.
From start to finish, the experience provided Costes with a taste of his potential future and a chance to experience the routine of what it is like to play games every day.
It also cemented in his mind that baseball was the career path he wanted to follow.
A standout in football and basketball in addition to baseball in high school, Costes entertained some recruiting interest in football before choosing to select Maryland after completing his prep career at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore.
But baseball was his passion and Costes was named to the Big Ten all-freshman team in 2016 before earning first-team all-conference honors in 2017 after batting .322 for the Terrapins.
He hit just .235 this spring as a junior for Maryland, but Houston had seen enough of Costes to draft him for a second time.
Costes’ professional career began in short-season Tri-City, where his only hit in 14 at-bats was a triple before he was promoted to the River Bandits roster on June 24.
He started slowly at the plate but caught the eye of manager Mickey Storey for his ability to get on base.
His current .422 on-base percentage has been topped by only two River Bandits this season, current Buies Creek outfielder J.J. Matijevic and current Quad-Cities teammate Seth Beer.
“He has shown an ability to make the most of his at-bats,’’ Storey said. “He gets on base, one way or another, and that’s a good trait for a young player to have.’’
Costes said he is taking things as they come.
“I’m not getting caught up in my batting average or anything like that this year,’’ said Costes, who is currently hitting for .275 for the River Bandits but has hit .294 with three multiple-hit games over his last 10 games.
“I’m trying to get the most that I can out of every day. I’m learning what it takes to compete at this level and be ready to go every night.''
It has taken Costes some time to settle into that routine, but he is starting to feel more comfortable.
"I’m doing what I can to make the most out of every at-bat, doing what I need to do,'' he said. "That might be a hit, it might be drawing a walk. Just make the most of it, that’s where my focus is right now.’’
Costes’ focus is also on baseball.
From a multi-sport athlete in high school to juggling to baseball and the books at the collegiate level, Costes now finds himself working to make the most of the professional opportunity in front of him.
“This is the first time in my life that it has really just been all about baseball,’’ Costes said. “It’s been a big jump from college to this, but I’m dedicated to one thing, baseball, now and I’m all in. I’m going to see where this can take me.’’