Seattle Mariners Season Preview: Leonys Martin

May 3, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin (2) bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
May 3, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin (2) bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

Will Leonys Martin be able to put his rough 2015 season behind him?

Leonys Martin was among the many players that came to the Mariners via trade this off season. He came to the Mariners from the Texas Rangers with RHP Anthony Bass in exchange for Tom Wilhelmsen, James Jones and a PTBNL (Patrick Kivlehan). Martin comes in to cure all the Mariners’ woes and glaringly inconsistencies at center field.

More from Mariners News

Martin’s player profile became somewhat telling for the myriad of players that Jerry Dipoto would acquire for the rest of the off season. Dipoto set out to look for athletic outfielders that could play defense, who weren’t second base/shortstop converts, that could better patrol the vast plains of Safeco Field. Leonys Martin’s value has always been in his defense/base running. It’s reasonable to not expect a whole lot of theatrics from him offensively, but look to see a major change in outfield defense.

The Good 

The majority of what I have seen on Leonys Martin comes from the four-ish total seasons he’s played for the rival Texas Rangers. He’s never been much of an offensive stalwart, and we shouldn’t expect any different. Martin fits the profile of an OBP + defense guy, like the kind Jerry’s been stockpiling all offseason. His career OBP sits at a less than than stellar .302, but you could only imagine what it would be like his awful 2015 didn’t happen.

Martin has also been heralded for his speed on the base paths. This FanGraphs article (gives Ketel Marte kudos too) still credits Martin with being a force when it comes to base running, and is optimistic for him being able to post above average numbers next year. Even with his overall sub-par performance year last year, he still ranked top-5 in DRS and UZR/105.  With such a low floor on his 2016 expectations, I wouldn’t put it past him to return to his 3.8 WAR 2014 season.

More from SoDo Mojo

The Bad 

2015 (seems to be a theme here) was an awful year. Martin was only worth half a win in 95 games with a .264 OBP before getting sent down to Triple-A. He proceeded to fracture a bone in his right hand during his stint in the minor-leagues. Almost nothing went right for him last year, so there is currently not a lot of optimism revolving around his offensive abilities right now.

The Future 

The Mariners’ center fielders put up a combined 1.1 WAR last year (ranking 26th in the majors). Leonys will be a significant upgrade over that. The fact that he is only 28 years old tells me that there is still a lot potential, albeit it’s not hard to improve over the mishap of last year. If he is able to outperform the .219/.264/.313 line he was saddled with in 2015, the Mariners will prove to be the winners of this trade… No matter how much we all love Tom Wilhelmsen.

Next: Seattle Signs Cuban OF Guillermo Heredia

Leonys Martin already arrived earlier than most position players in Peoria, and that speaks greatly to his work ethic and willingness to make adjustments toward improvement. Like I mentioned earlier his offensive skill set is nothing to write home, but his impressive defense will make him extremely valuable to the 2016 Seattle Mariners.