With the season a couple of months away, what has to break right for the Rangers to contend again in 2015?
What if Leonys Martin can finally figure out how to be a consistent hitter in the big-leagues? What if he can get back to being the efficient base-stealer he was in 2013? What if he can finally pair his world-class arm with being a smart defensive outfielder in terms of angles and ball-paths?
After the way he 2014 season went, it's exciting to see if Martin can build with new manager Jeff Banister, especially when you consider Martin flourished down the stretch after former manager Ron Washington resigned. Not saying Washington was a detriment to Martin, but he was better after Wash left.
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Martin had his second season as a full-time player and improved in several categories. He hit .274, which was 14 points higher than his 2013 number, had an on-base percentage that was 12 points higher, albeit still low (.325), but he did have fewer extra-base hits.
The one area he really regressed was in stealing bases. He stole fewer (31 versus 36 in 2013) and got caught 12 times, three more than in 2013. Granted, the entire Rangers' running game took a hit in 2014, probably because of game situations in losses curtailing aggressiveness, but they were worse nonetheless.
Martin has the skill set to be a very good big-leaguer for a long time and could end up being a great center fielder one day, but that day has yet to come. Will it get closer to that point in 2015? The Rangers can only hope so.