In less than two months, the 2014 baseball season will begin. The Texas Rangers are poised to return to the postseason, but there are a good amount of questions surrounding the season.
Question: Which Leonys Martin will the Rangers get?
Over the first few months of the 2013 season, it appeared the Texas Rangers had their centerfielder and eventual leadoff hitter to plug into their lineup for the next five to seven years. After the way Leonys Martin ended the 2013 season, the enthusiasm was tempered greatly.
It became clear Martin wasn't a serviceable leadoff hitter after about a 20-game stretch where he was succeeding in the role, using his speed and bunting ability to get on base in several different ways and then steal nearly 40 bases.
Now, he'll be able to hit further down the Rangers' lineup, most likely in the No. 9 spot to turn over the lineup to Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus. That's a role Martin could excel in, and hitting lower in the order will put less pressure on him and allow him to be more comfortable instead of being overly aggressive like he was too many times last season. Last season, after he hit a peak at the plate in June, Martin's numbers began to dip dramatically and he hit just .238 over the season's second half with a putrid .289 on-base percentage.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels made it pretty clear what he expects from Martin, who will be 26 in his second full MLB season.
"He's gotten better," Daniels said in The Dallas Morning News, "but there is room for improvement. It's as simple as that. Development does not stop at the major league level."