The first piece of the Texas Rangers’ 2015 lineup fell into place Saturday, when manager Jeff Banister announced that center fielder Leonys Martin will be the leadoff hitter.
Martin finished 2014 atop the lineup and flourished there. He batted .295 with a .340 on-base percentage over the final 21 games, stealing eight bases and getting caught just twice.
Banister likes Martin speed and power, and plans to bat him first against right-handers and left-handers.
“In my mind, that’s the direction I’d like to go,” Banister said. “I’d like him to lock down that leadoff spot and be the catalyst for our offense.”
Banister has seen quality at-bats from the left-handed-hitting Martin, and has encouraged him to use his ability to bunt and to try to control the strike zone better against lefties.
The rest of the lineup isn’t certain, though a glimpse at the lineup Banister had posted for Sunday’s game could be a hint of what the Rangers’ order will look like April 6 in the season opener.
After Martin, the Rangers will have Elvis Andrus, Shin-Soo Choo, Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland.