2013 Stats: .260/.313/.385, 6 triples, 36 stolen bases
Salary: $3.75 million ($4.75 million in 2015, free agent 2019)
Each week, we will look at key players on the Texas Rangers 25-man roster, and this week we look at the everyday centerfielder, Leonys Martin.
Year in Review: Here is hoping that 2013 was not a breakout season for Martin as his ceiling is much higher than his 3.4 rWAR he accumulated. His 36 stolen bases were fifth in the American League while his six triples were tied for sixth.
Offensively, Martin struggled to flash the power scouts swear he has, as he was only able to hit eight home runs last season. His platoon splits were extreme, which is something to be concerned with down the road:
vs. RHP: .275/.326/.423
vs. LHP: .226/.280/.293
28 of his 35 extra base hits were against right-handed pitching. Martin was also 90 points better OPS-wise at home (.742) than on the road (.652). He also seemed to cool off as the season went on. From May 11 July 2, Martin had a slash line of .318/.355/.512 with 17 stolen bases. The rest of the season, he hit .234/.288/.336.
Defensively, Martin was the 29th most valuable player (Rangers leader) with his glove according to Fangraphs. He routinely threw runners out and was credited with a 9.4 Ultimate Zone Rating.
Career: Back in June, I wrote an article looking back at 2011 when there was a plethora of Cuban defectors. He might not get the fanfare some other Cubans receive upon arriving in the States, but Leonys could rise above the rest after it is all said and done. Martin has been in the public eye since the 2009 World Baseball Classic, but has only played 179 games in MLB. He's 25 (turns 26 in March) and has a long career ahead of him.
2014 season: Despite eight career home runs in 511 at-bats, Martin still has 20-homerun power potential he is yet to tap into. If his power potential can be met with the combination of his speed and glove, he can easily become the All-Star caliber player the Rangers had hoped for when he signed with them.
With Gentry now traded to Oakland, centerfield is Martin's on an everyday basis this season. If the Rangers have World Series aspirations in 2014, Martin needs to fulfill his potential and become a budding All-Star for the team.
Eddie Middlebrook is a staff writer for Paranoid Fan, covering MLB and college football. Back in 2010, Eddie wrote for Fox Sports Southwest covering the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks and the Big 12. In 2012, he began writing for Shutdown Inning where he eventually became Vice President of Media. You can email Eddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or catch him on Twitter @emiddlebrook.