- Jim Bowden, Baseball, Insider
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The Texas Rangers signed Cuban defector Leonys Martin this past week to a five-year, $15.5 million contract. Martin, 23, is a left-handed hitting center fielder who profiles to be their future leadoff hitter. The Rangers continue to be disappointed in the jumps and angles Julio Borbon takes in center and feel that for longevity sakes that Josh Hamilton will be better served staying in left field. Martin is expected to start in Double-A Frisco, with a September call-up not being ruled out this year if he hits enough.
Definition of scouting grades:
80 -- Hall of Famer
70 -- Superstar
60 -- All-Star Caliber player/Silver Slugger/Gold Glove
55 -- Above-average major league player
50 -- Average major league player
45 -- Below-average major league player
40 -- Role player
35 -- Minor league player
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels gave me his scouting report on Martin:
"6-2, 190 -- could have been a wide receiver. Left/Right (has actually played some shortstop in the past, but we feel is true CF). Plus runner (3.7 on drag bunt yesterday) but not a burner. Instinctive in field and on basepaths. Has some pull power and will drive ball, but is more of a line-drive gap to gap approach. True leadoff guy with feel for strike zone and understanding of his role and value of getting on base. 6 arm (60 on our scale). Smart, aptitude and driven."
Here is a summary of the evaluation of Martin that I received from multiple teams and other evaluators:
DEFENSIVELY: He is an above-average defender in center field with first-step quickness with good jumps and angles. His arm is above average and accurate.
OFFENSIVELY: Line-drive hitter with sweet spot contact. Has good strike zone awareness. Stays back well on secondary pitches. Not a lot of preliminary movement and has direct path to ball. Knows how to work counts and can draw walks. Has pull power that has the potential of developing in time. Potential leadoff hitter who can steal bases.
MAKEUP AND CHARACTER: Intelligent player with good baseball instincts. Knows how to play the game. Aptitude is off the charts.
SUMMARY: Long-term solution in the leadoff spot and center field. Chance to be an impact top-of-the-order bat with above-average, but not burner, speed. Estimated time of arrival is 2012 with the possibility of a September call-up this year.