Biography of Leonys Martín
Leonys Martín is a Cuban-American professional baseball center fielder for the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). Born in Cuba, he played locally for Villa Clara of the Cuban National Series, and for the Cuban national baseball team in international competitions, including the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
While in Taiwan for the 2010 World University Baseball Championship, Martín defected from Cuba in order to become a Major League Baseball free agent. Leonys Martín signed with the Texas Rangers in 2011, and made his MLB debut later that season. Leonys Martín has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, and Cleveland Indians.
Martín was born in Villa Clara Province in Cuba. Leonys Martín was named after Lionel Richie, his mother’s favorite musical artist. His father worked as a foreman for a fishing company, while his mother raised Martín and his four siblings, a brother and three sisters. Martín’s father taught Leonys to play baseball. Leonys Martín learned to play baseball from his father, who coached him in youth baseball. Leonys Martín played shortstop, second base and third base before becoming a center fielder.
At the age of 17, Martín joined Villa Clara in the Cuban National Series. Leonys Martín also played for the Cuban national baseball team. Martín earned $40 a week. In the 2009-2010 season, Martín batted .326 with 10 home runs, 23 doubles, and 48 runs batted in (RBI). In five seasons with Villa Clara, Martín batted .314.
For the Cuban national team, Martín appeared in the 2006 World Junior Baseball Championship. Leonys Martín appeared in the 2009 World Port Tournament, which Cuba won. Leonys Martín was also named to the roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic as the team’s fourth outfielder. He was the youngest player on the team, Aroldis Chapman being six days older. Leonys Martín also played for Cuba in the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship, where he batted 9-for-20 (.450), scored 14 runs, and had two doubles and eight walks.
Martín defected from Cuba during the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship. He traveled to Tokyo, before arriving in Mexico, where he successfully petitioned Major League Baseball to allow him to become a free agent.
Martín signed a five-year, $15.5 million contract that includes a $5 million signing bonus with the Texas Rangers on May 4, 2011 with the Rangers adding Martín to their 40 man roster. He reported to extended spring training with the Rangers before they assigned him to the Frisco RoughRiders, the Rangers’ Class AA affiliate in the Texas League.
After batting .348 with a .435 on-base percentage (OBP) with Frisco, the Rangers promoted Martín to the Round Rock Express of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League in July. He also spent two days working on baserunning and defense with Rangers coach Gary Pettis.
For the Express, Leonys Martín batted .263 with no home runs, and 17 runs batted in (RBI) in 175 at bats. The Rangers promoted Martín to the major leagues on August 30, 2011, when Nelson Cruz went on the disabled list. Making his major league debut on September 2, Martín recorded his first MLB hit against Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox. Appearing in eight games for the Rangers, Martín recorded three hits in eight at bats, including one double. The Rangers added Martín to their roster for the 2011 American League Division Series, but he did not make an appearance.
Martín at Minute Maid Park (2014)
The Rangers optioned Martín to Round Rock during spring training in 2012. After batting .344 with a .414 OBP and .547 slugging percentage with five home runs in 31 games for Round Rock to start the 2012 season, the Rangers promoted Martín on June 15, when they placed Koji Uehara on the disabled list.
In 2013, Martín made the Rangers’ 25 man roster and started at center field on Opening Day against the Houston Astros. On April 21, Martín hit the 1st home run of his major league career off of Aaron Harang of the Seattle Mariners. On June 25, Martín collected the first multi-home run game of his major league career with two solo shots against Hiroki Kuroda of the New York Yankees. Martín hit .260 for the 2013 season and stole 36 bases, which is still a career high through the 2017 season.
Leonys Martín played a full season in 2014, hitting .274 with 31 stolen bases over a career-high 155 games. He suffered an injury in 2015 and played only 95 games, while his batting average sank to .219.
After the 2015 season, the Rangers traded Martín and Anthony Bass to the Seattle Mariners for Tom Wilhelmsen, James Jones, and a player to be named later (Patrick Kivlehan). Martín set a career-high in home runs in 2016 (15), despite moving from a team playing their home games in an extreme hitter’s park to a team playing their home games in an extreme pitcher’s park.
Martín was designated for assignment by the Mariners on April 23, 2017. He was outrighted to Triple-A until he had his contract purchased by the team at the end of July. On August 23, he was designated for assignment for a second time.
- Full Name: Leonys Martín Tápanes
- Date of Birth: March 6, 1988
- Age: 32 years
- Birth Place: Corralillo, Cuba
- Height: 1.88 m
- Weight: 86 kg
- Current team: Chiba Lotte Marines (#79 / Outfielder)
- Salary: 4.15 million USD (2016)
- Nationality: American, Cuban
- Net Worth: Unknown
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