Leonys Martin #74 – 2013 Top 100
Date of Birth: March 6th, 1988(age 25)
Origin: Signed as an International Free Agent in 2011 out of Villa Clara, Villa Clara, Cuba
Al Skorupa: This Cuban defector’s development has somewhat stalled the last couple seasons between a thumb ligament injury and an inability to make adjustments. Martin is a plus runner and quality defensive center fielder. Still, he’ll only go as far as his bat can take him. That’s definitely the question mark with Martin, too. His aggressive approach limits him at the plate, and sources have expressed reservations about just how much he’ll hit.
Its often a long and difficult transition for Cubans to adjust to American pitching sequences and styles. Thus, there’s still plenty of reason for optimism… but I’m still bearish on the bat, personally. Martin’s swing is not conducive to much over the fence power. At his best he’s going to be more of a gap to gap hitter. At this point I really need to see Martin continue to improve his plate discipline and pitch recognition in order for me to see him as more than a second division starter.
Steve Fiorindo: I have some of the same reservations as Al here. With Martin, I think the upside is limited a bit because he lacks big power, or really any one huge tool. There’s a lot of reason to be worried about how well his swing will play in the majors, and his plate discipline leaves an awful lot to be desired. Both of those things could go a long ways towards holding Martin back as a major league player.
I do think that the Rangers’ lineup will help Martin, though; the lineup is still pretty deep, and he will most likely be used in a platoon role where he’s hitting towards the bottom of the lineup. I think easing him into MLB action will help him have some success. If he’s used right and can mitigate some of his flaws even to a minor extent, I think he can be a solid and productive player, even if he isn’t the spectacular one that many hoped for when he first defected.
Stephen Kuperman: Leonys Martin is going to be a fun if somewhat infuriating player to follow, as he is an aggressive playmaker in all aspects of the game, who is nonetheless prone to mistakes. There is a genuine looseness to his game that really shows up at the plate, as he rarely sets properly and relies on his bat speed to carry him through. As a result he has plenty of bad swings, with a surprising amount of swing and miss for a player who strikes out so infrequently.
I think he’ll surprise slightly with his power – Martin doesn’t have the consistent approach or raw strength to hit a lot of home runs, but he’ll pick up enough extra base hits to ensure his pop won’t be a liability. Defensively, he is quite good in center field and he should stay that way for a while given his athleticism. Add everything up and Martin appears to be the rare specimen of a player with strong feel for the game in general and subpar-to-average instincts for the game in terms of applicable skills. I suspect he’ll be a solid regular at a difficult-to-fill position, all things considered.
Fantasy Outlook by Michael Curtis:
With Josh Hamilton no longer in Arlington, the starting CF job has fallen to Martin. While at bats are a valuable commodity, I have doubts as to whether Martin will be able to make the most of them. But if Martin is able to able to maximize his hit tool, Rangers Ballpark is the place to maximize his power potential along with it. What will help his case even more is that even without Hamilton, there is enough left in Texas’s lineup to help inflate his runs scored and add to his fantasy value.