Detroit Tigers: Leonys Martin is Worth a Flier
Detroit Tigers center fielders have been a mixed bag this season. Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Seattle Mariners, is worth a flier as a potential depth piece.
Detroit Tigers outfielders haven’t had the best start to 2017 season.
Justin Upton has been productive (0.5 WAR, .273 ISO, 163 wRC+, .930 OPS), while JaCoby Jones has flashed upside at times. However, that’s been about it for the Tigers in the outfield.
Overall, Detroit outfielders rank 20th in WAR, 18th in wRC+ and 17th in ISO.
Specifically, the team’s center fielders sit 24th in WAR, 25th in on-base percentage and 23rd in wRC+.
With Jones now on the disabled list, the team has turned to Jim Adduci to help fill in as an outfielder.
The former Pittsburgh farmhand joins fellow outfielder J.D. Martinez on the disabled list.
That leaves Detroit with an outfield of Upton, Adduci, Tyler Collins, Mikie Mahtook and Andrew Romine.
When everyone is healthy, Upton is the only assured starter of that group.
Because of that, adding some depth could help Detroit.
Luckily for the Tigers, a potential depth piece recently became available.
The Seattle Mariners’ public relations announced a number of roster moves on the team’s official blog.
"“Seattle Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto announced today the following roster moves:Chris Heston, RHP, recalled from AAA Tacoma.Daniel Vogelbach, INF, recalled from AAA Tacoma.Chase De Jong, RHP, optioned to AAA Tacoma.Leonys Martin, OF, designated for assignment."
Martin—who has 4,419.1 innings of experience in center field, not to mention a lifetime 43 DRS, a 31 rARM, a 29.7 UZR and an 8.8 UZR/150—certainly qualifies as quality depth.
The former Ranger didn’t get off to the best start in 2017, hitting .111 with a .302 OPS, a -13 wRC+ and just six hits in 58 plate appearances.
However, Martin has turned in some solid seasons in the past.
In his first full season in the Major Leagues in 2013, the outfielder batted .260 with a .698 OPS, 49 RBI, 36 stolen bases, 21 doubles, eight home runs and six triples.
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He batted .274 with 40 RBI, 31 stolen bases, 13 doubles, seven home runs and seen triples in 2014.
Just last season, he turned in a .247 batting average and a .684 OPS for the Mariners. That stat line included 47 RBI, 24 stolen bases, 17 doubles, three triples and a career-high 15 home runs.
Potential Role With Detroit Tigers in 2017 and Beyond
Given Detroit’s current outfield options, it wouldn’t hurt to add a player with Martin’s experience in the outfield.
At worst, he could provide the team with a stop-gap option until Martinez and Jones return from the disabled list.
What’s more, the ex-Mariner is only 29-years-old.
If he can return to the form he showed in 2015 and in earlier seasons, the left-handed hitting outfielder could be a long-term outfield piece for the Tigers.
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With Martinez and potentially Justin Upton hitting free agency after the season, Detroit could need the added outfielders while Christin Stewart, Mike Gerber, Jose Azocar and Derek Hill develop in the minors.