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Leonys Martin in leadoff spot for Rangers

6/15/2014

The lineups for Saturday's game are out and center fielder Leonys Martin is in the leadoff spot. That's a change for manager Ron Washington, who had put Michael Choice at the top of the lineup with Mitch Moreland out.

The ripple effects from Moreland's injury include shifting Shin-Soo Choo to the 3-hole, a spot where the team needs him right now. That has opened up the top spot. We went over some options last week. And while I'm more curious about Rougned Odor and what he could do -- if nothing else because Martin has had some chances at leadoff and Odor hasn't -- I think Martin is a better option than Choice.

Now the challenge is to leave Martin there, even if he struggles initially. His numbers at the leadoff spot aren't terrific: He has a .239 average and a .298 on-base percentage as a leadoff hitter with 35 strikeouts and only seven walks. But the's had only 155 plate appearances there.

Let's see if Martin can grow into the role and understand he must be a more disciplined hitter. He's averaging 3.65 pitches per plate appearance this season, which is 69th in the AL and behind a handful of his teammates. That's actually nearly identical to last year -- 3.63. His job is to get on base any way possible. If he needs advice, Choo is a good one to ask. Choo gets on via hit-by-pitch, walk and deep-count hits.

It's now up to Martin. The Rangers should pencil him in to the top of the lineup repeatedly and see how he does.