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Monday, March 4, 2013
Pick 1: Leonys Martin vs. Craig Gentry

By Richard Durrett

Editor's Note: You choose the player that will have the better year of the two featured in this blog series. Sometimes it may seem like an easy exercise and other times it may be more difficult. ESPN.com fantasy expert Eric Karabell will weigh in with the player he thinks will have a better fantasy year.

Pick 1: Leonys Martin or Craig Gentry

It's the battle of the center fielders and what makes this tough is that by the end of spring, we could have a platoon situation. But that's dependent on if one of these two guys can show an ability to hit left-handed and right-handed pitchers. And that's where I'm going to take Martin.

Why? The club has invested $15.5 million in Martin in hopes that he can be the center fielder at some point. If he can show he can hit left-handers this spring, why not now? Gentry would still get some playing time, but it would give Martin even more chances. He's got speed and he's got raw tools, he just has to develop them.

We'll see as spring goes along. Gentry hit just over .300 last season, but much of that was one red-hot month. He's the more proven player and the safer bet in terms of known big league production. But I like Martin's upside and something tells me he can get this to where it's a 70-30 split rather than a true platoon. That's just me. Stay tuned.

Karabell's thoughts:
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I’m not convinced Martin can’t win the job outright, but even if this is a platoon situation he’s the one that should play quite a bit more. There’s immediate reachable upside with Martin for double-digit power and perhaps 20 stolen bases, which makes him the easy choice over Gentry for me. Sure, Martin is unproven at the big league level and unlikely to hit at the top of the lineup, but when in doubt, take the lefty hitter in any platoon, especially one with untapped potential. I can’t say I’m necessarily targeting Martin in standard fantasy drafts, since the position contains many late-round sleepers, including oft-overlooked Rangers teammate David Murphy, but I also can’t see a scenario in which Gentry is appealing for fantasy owners. Last year he provided some cheap stolen bases, but that’s about it for his upside.

Your turn: Which player has the better season: Leonys Martin or Craig Gentry?