The Texas Rangers have waited and waited and waited for this version of Leonys Martin to come out and play for an extended amount of time.
Over the past 24 games, 20 of which were started by Martin, the 26-year-old Cuban has been carrying a Rangers' inept offense along with guys like Adrian Beltre. Martin, whose talent shows he could be a dynamic weapon both at the plate and in center field, is batting .407 in that time with a .427 on-base percentage, which is very encouraging. And a lot of those at-bats have come in the leadoff spot. He's also 7-for-9 on stolen base attempts in that time.
But there's been one problem for Martin. Ron Washington, prior to his sudden resignation on Friday, had taken to the idea of not starting Martin or at least not batting him in the leadoff spot against left-handed starters.
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On the season, Martin is batting just .218 against southpaws. But interim manager Tim Bogar, who could possibly be a candidate to win the job full-time in 2015, said he wants to see Martin play every day in the same role.
"I want to see Marty play,” Bogar told reporters. “I want to know that he’s going to be our everyday center fielder next year. I want to see him play against the lefties and I want to see him face the lefties and come in like last night [against Charlie Furbush]. I think we need to know if we need another guy to play center field against lefties or not.”
That's spoken like someone who wants to be the Rangers' manager and someone who believes in the big bag of talent and upside Martin possesses. We've long advocated the thought of Martin being a full-time leadoff hitter for the Rangers, if he can perform in that role. Elvis Andrus isn't cut out to be a No. 2 hitter — another thing Washington endlessly believed in — and it would allow the Rangers to move a healthy Shin-Soo Choo to No. 2 in the order. Choo would be a great No. 2 hitter with bat skills and a nice blend of power to go with his plate discipline.
Martin has the speed and base-running ability, as well as the ability to get on base via the bunt, and all the other tools to be a good leadoff hitter. He's just needed to work on his plate discipline and his approach, and over the past month he's been much better in those departments.
So why not give Martin an extended look? It looks like the Rangers' new manager is going to do just that.