After Craig Gentry went down with an injury after a hot spring training tear, Leonys Martin didn't take long to put a firm grip on the starting job in center field.
Martin got off to a slow start to the season and looked a bit lost, but quickly turned things around by going on a tear at the plate in May and June as an on-base machine that added life to the Rangers' running game and eventually took over for Ian Kinsler in the leadoff spot to lead the Rangers to a hot streak in August.
In May and June, Martin's on-base percentage was better than .350 and he was slugging .486. Lately, things have gone downhill in a big way, so much so that it forced Rangers manager Ron Washington to yank him from the leadoff spot recently and put him back in the 9-hole, where he started the season. Martin began struggling to get on base, as evidenced by his .300 on-base percentage over the second half of the season due to his free-swinging approach and inability to work pitchers.
Still a youngster learning how to be a major leaguer, Martin has plenty of time to adjust his game to his strengths, and believe us, his tools seem to point to him being a prototypical leadoff hitter for years to come.
Hopefully for the Rangers and their lifeless offense's sake, the move back to the back of the lineup will help spark Martin and relieve some of the pressure on him, but it needs to happen in a hurry for the Rangers to have a shot at October baseball.