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Sunday, February 8, 2015

2015 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: LEONYS MARTIN OUTFIELDER TEXAS RANGERS

For the second season in a row, Texas Rangers developing outfielder Leonys Martin makes the sleeper list as he once again seems on the verge of taking a sizable step forward in his development to an upper-level player.  Already a good speedster who has shown glimpses of pop, Martin goes into his always interesting age-27 season where many players have truly broken out in the past.  With that said let's dig in a bit deeper on Martin in order to find out where he could be heading in 2015.

Already a solid player, Martin has established a firm baseline the last two seasons with his numbers:

2013:  .260 8 HR 49 RBI 66 R 28 SB
2014:  .274 7 HR 40 RBI 68 R 31 SB

In looking at the stats, the biggest asset Martin brings to the table is his speed as he has been at or near 30 stolen bases each of the last two seasons.  And more impressive is the fact he has done it while batting mostly toward the bottom of the Rangers lineup.  If he had gotten a boost to leadoff or number 2, Martin would almost be a lock for 40 steals.  And that move would also boost his high 60's run total to something above 80.  Meanwhile Martin is not just a pure speed guy as he has shown some pop with 8 and 7 home runs the last two years.  Texas has always been a home run have which has allowed Martin to at least be a contributor there which separates him from someone like a Jarrod Dyson or a Ben Revere when looking for a more well-rounded steals weapon.  Don't look for much in the way of RBI however which is based also on the fact Martin will either lead off or once again hit toward the bottom of the order. 

Finally we get to the batting average which is a bit shaky for someone with so much speed.  Again Martin has not gotten prime stuff to hit at the bottom of the order and he reminds me so much of Brett Gardner who has been a firm outfielder 3 the last five-plus seasons despite his own batting average challenges.  Martin tends to strike out a bit but he lowered that rate somewhat in 2014 which is the direction you want to see him go to.  A few more walks and Martin is capable of moving his batting average up to around the .280 level.

The final caveat here is the batting order position.  With Elvis Andrus having proven himself a poor leadoff hitter in the past and with Shin-Soo Choo having been utterly disastrous in 2014, Martin could get a chance at the top which would boost his counting stats in runs, RBI, home runs, and steals.  He also would see his average go up as well as the leadoff guy will get better pitches to hit than someone hitting at the bottom of the order.  Martin already is a good and helpful hitter who can be your outfielder 3 even without the move but a promotion would enhance him to possibly outfielder 2 status. 

2015 PROJECTION:  .275 10 HR 53 RBI 72 R 37 SB

 

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