For those of you not tuned in to international signings or Texas Rangers baseball, Leonys Martin is a center-fielder currently assigned to AA Frisco for the Rangers. Martin’s story has been recounted several times, effectively Martin defected from Cuba – and signed for about 15 million dollars with the Texas Rangers. During the MLB Draft I heard multiple reports that he would have gone in the first round had he been draft eligible. Certainly 15 million would have been well-above slot.
In his first start with the Double-A RoughRiders, he went 3 for 5 with an RBI and a stolen base. Leonys bats left and throws right, he sits at 6’1 180lbs. This season Martin is batting .357/.444/.583, has 18 RBIs and 8 stolen bases- only in 102 plate appearances. Martin is a speedy player that will hit for average and has plus-potential defense. Aaron Goldsmith, the voice of the RoughRiders, told me he was one of the most exciting players he has ever had a chance to watch. It’s no suprise that everyone in the Rangers organization is excited about his potential.
After moving Josh Hamilton to left-field the Rangers deposited Julio Borbon in center. Borbon is talented defensively but has lacked any offensive staying power, as a result he was sent down to Triple-A Round Rock. Currently the duo of Craig Gentry and Endy Chavez are handling the duties in Arlington. It’s fairly obvious that they are the bridge for the Rangers until Martin is ready.
This is where the injury concern comes in. Leonys Martin has been placed on Double-A Frisco’s disabled list due to a slight herniated disc in his back. This started as day-to-day and has evolved into a disabled list stint. The announcement that he was going on the D-L came while I was in the press-box on June 10th, no one in the box with me seemed surprised. He didn’t take batting practice with the team but was doing some conditioning, you can see that in the picture above.
No one with the team has said anything about an ETA, he is currently on the 7-day disabled list. If anything, that could be considered a good sign. The Riders’ do not expect to have him long in Frisco, if he gets healthy look for him to jump to Triple-A Round Rock. From there he could possibly get called up to the show in September.