A Case For ... Leonys Martin
a short finish, dude. don't leave home without it.

Dr. D will cheerfully bet something important, such as Carolina's weather forecast or SABRMatt's screen name, that Leonydas' 2016 hitting life will be nasty, brutish and short.  So will BaseballHQ.  We aren't backing off on that.  But still, if Dr. D received The Big Phone Call and were to go to arbitration with the lad, what reasons are there to believe?


The Mariners and Rangers agree that he's made out of gold.  If you cancel James Jones against Anthony Bass - and you DO, b'lee DAT - then you've got (1) a power RH with 67 (!) career saves and (2) an org top-5 prospect for Leonydas.  Who just had 310 at-bats (LOL) last year.  Note well!  This is --- > the payment that a customer would expect to lay down for Adam Lind or better.  ... since you bring that up, which package was worth more?  Lind's, or Martin's?

Okay, fine, Jerry DiPoto gets obsessive you say?  Okay, but why do the RANGERS peg his value there.  Don't be a superficial P-I boards poster and assume the Rangers were laughing into their gloves while collecting 3 times Martin's value.  Baseball doesn't work that way.  The Rangers' minimum price on Martin was two men off your 25-man roster, and/or two prospects of your best and brightest.

This means both the Mariners, AND RANGERS, see a 70% chance that Leonydas will dominate the outfield and hit just fine.


LEONYDAS HAS SHO-NUFF HIT BEFO.  He got on base "meh," in 2013 and 2014, with zero power (.300+ SLG).  He used his legs to beat out infield grounders, steal 35 bases, and go from 1B-to-3B.  He picked off 0.7 WAR per year on the bases, ranking him #4 in the majors for leg rage.  Behind Ellsbury, Starling Marte, and Mike Trout, but ahead of Andrus, Escobar, Hunter Pence, and everybody.

With his wheels, all Leonydas has to DO is hit .265.  Get it?  Got it!  Good.

Martin has a ridikule Fred McGriff swing but all you have to do! is get him to Willie Mays Hayes the ball in the batting cage.  Hitting coaches have complex tasks at times.  But "go to your pepper swing" is not one of those complex taxs.


LIKE THE WINTER RESULTS.  People say stuff like "the Arizona Fall League means absolutely nuttin', honey" and then you go back and find the AFL Top 10 lists had ten Bryce Harpers at the top.  Hey, man, if the guy wins a wiffle ball game it means SOMETHING.  It's just that it doesn't mean EVERYTHING.

Take another camera angle.  If Taijuan Walker went to winter ball, walked 17 and fanned 2 in 12 innings, and topped out at 88 MPH, that would mean nothing?  Why do you even HAVE a blinkin' college draft?  You saying you can make sense of college statistics?  ... and you realize they draft high schoolers in that thing, right?   F.I.R.S.T ROUND. sometimes.  

With absolutely no exaggeration, the last game before the college draft, pitchers drop from #6 overall to the top of the 2nd round.  Every game means something.

Bat571 sez,


Leonys Martin is really doing well in the Dominican round-robin playoffs (he only played 1 game in the regular DWL schedule). Batting 2nd for Tigres de Licey, he's hitting in the .340s and the Tigres are 11-1. The winter leagues are not MLB, but it looks like his hand problem may be behind him.

They don't have a listing for playoff stats, but it appears from totaling from box scores that he's 14 for 41 (.341) with 4 2B, 11 walks and 10 Ks, 11 runs scored, and 4 RBIs. That gives a .341/.480/.439/.919 line. Even 100 points off each would give a league average OPS (.719) from a CF. We can hope. But just playing 12 games in 15 days and hitting (and walking) steadily shows something.

ll James Handbook predicts .264/.317/.385/.702 for Martin. If he's getting a few more walks, all the better. DWL isn't MLB, but running 20% walks and just under 20% Ks means he seeing the ball pretty well - and 4 of his Ks were in his first 4 games and he has 8 walks in his last 6 games, so he's maybe settling in.


1.  James has indeed said, as SABRMatt rightly suspectx, that the "Bill James Handbook Projections" are nothing more than computer-averaged lines with a few hand tweaks here and there.  He doesn't want people holding his feet to the fire on them.  BaseballHQ forecasts?!, the James Handbook lines are definitely NOT.

2.  Personally I'm nicely encouraged by Martin's focus in the DWL.  His UP season in 2016 wouldn't require a lot, and here's a First Sign that he's headed towards the approach that would make it possible.

In 2013-14, Martin hit a feeble .265/.315/.375 in a hitter's park! and racked up 3+ WAR doing it.  He scored about 70 runs per 155 games, compared to our last #9 hitter (Zunino) who scored 28!! runs in 118 games.


LET'S!  Go TO!  the VIDEO!  TAPE!

The Arm.  Wow!  Have you ever seen a runner thrown out on this kind of batted ball?  James is very serious about calling them "baserunner kills."  One of them can swing a weekend series in your favor.  It's baseball's equivalent of a Pick Six.

The GWRBI up the middle.  If they could get him to finish with the bat like this -- lower, shorter finish -- they could have something.   Not! like this.  That's what to watch in March.  Is Leonydas King of Spalding willing to dial it down?  Or is he not?  That's all.

You've got to sweet-talk the lad into a Willie Mays Hayes transition.  I don't know that you can, but.  Seedat?  Dr. D can empathize.


Dr D




I am well aware that projections from any source are not predictive; but they are fun to look at, compare, and discuss. I assume that Shandler's guide, because of it's links to fantasy/gambling, tries MUCH harder to evaluate the context and to give accurate predictive information insofar as it's possible; after all, people are risking hard-earned (in most cases) money on their advice. But the same is true of whatever analysis tools the M's front office is using. Fantasy/gambling is a part of fandom I don't much care for (seven kids gives me plenty of ways to spend my money), but have fun. I'm more interested in trying to figure out why DiPoto made the trade.

I'm also well aware that winter league stats, NCAA stats, etc., have little predictive value. BUT, if a guy is suddenly down in velocity or footspeed, or is suddenly whiffing like his contact prescription needs changing, there's information and context there. Conversely, a guy whose poor recent performance may be attributed to an injury gives useful information if he is hitting and running well enough in any league, even on rehab to the AZL, to say that the injury is no longer affecting him greatly. If he is then one change on a good team that is suddenly 11-1 since his arrival, then that is also information and context.

If some are going to say they don't believe that Leonys Martin will be much of a contributor to the 2016 M's, and are using his past performance as a guide, then a legitimate argument (not correct, just legitimate) can be made that his performance in the DWL MIGHT, given his age and other factors, show he's back on track and may still have an ability to contribute. Would I bet money on it? No, but that's me. But I do think there's a very good chance he comes in and contributes.

Smaller parks, such as Globe Life, have been known to cause hitters who BADLY want to make a mark to do things to try to be a HR hitter - even swinging with the knob of the bat in their palm, which is known to result in hamate and ulnar injuries. Is that what Leonys was trying to do, a poor defector from Cuba who has one skill, one chance to provide for his family here in the States? I don't really know, but we're speculating, and I speculate there's more to his game.

But Doc brings up the point, If Edgar can get him to flatten his swing and use his speed, will the expanses of the Safeco gaps allow him to strengthen his contributions by getting on base and making pitchers nervous when he's on base? Is the absence of palm pain going to allow him to hit the ball hard again? His performance in the DWL tells me he's trying very hard to get back on an MLB track. Effort isn't everything, but comparing Yuniesky Betancourt to Leonys Martin, I think I like the latter's chances better.

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