In a season-ending countdown, we'll weigh in on some of the pleasant surprises for the Rangers in what was arguably the most disappointing season in franchise history.
No. 9: Leonys Martin, OF
2014 stats: .274 batting average, .325 on-base percentage, 13 doubles, 7 triples, 7 home runs, 40 RBIs, 31-of-43 on stolen-base attempts, 11 outfield assists
Leonys Martin has been knocking on the door of stardom for a while, and down the stretch in 2014 he began to show some positive steps forward. In fact, if you look at Martin's production under interim manager Tim Bogar beginning on Sept. 5, he was a more confident player at the plate. Bogar stuck with Martin against left-handed pitchers, something Ron Washington refused to do, and also hit Martin in the leadoff spot with regularity.
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Martin rewarded his interim boss with a .295 batting average and a .340 on-base percentage while stealing eight bases and scoring 15 runs in 21 starts. That kind of production in the leadoff spot, coupled with his defense and particularly his arm strength has all the makings of being a superstar in the future.
Martin will be one of the bigger, most important tasks for new manager Jeff Banister. Clearly, Martin found something under Bogar in terms of comfort and confidence that he didn't have under Washington and he was one of the bigger beneficiaries of Bogar's leadership. Banister has a special player on his hands in Martin, he just needs to figure out to harness all the potential and let Martin fully realize it.