Leonys Martín

This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Martín and the second or maternal family name is Tápanes.
Leonys Martín

Martín with the Texas Rangers in 2015
Seattle Mariners – No. 12
Center fielder
Born: (1988-03-06) March 6, 1988
Corralillo, Villa Clara, Cuba
Bats: Left Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 2, 2011, for the Texas Rangers
MLB statistics
(through 2016 season)
Batting average .252
Hits 467
Home runs 35
Runs batted in 167
Stolen bases 108

Leonys Martín Tápanes (born March 6, 1988) is a Cuban professional baseball center fielder for the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball (MLB). 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.[1] He signed with the Texas Rangers in 2011, and made his MLB debut later that season. The Rangers traded him to the Mariners after the 2015 season.

Early life

Martín was born in Villa Clara Province in Cuba. He was named after Lionel Richie, his mother's favorite musical artist.[2] His father worked as a foreman for a fishing company, while his mother raised Martín and his four siblings, a brother and three sisters.[2] Martín's father taught Leonys to play baseball.[2]

Martin learned to play baseball from his father, who coached him in youth baseball. Martín played shortstop, second base and third base before becoming a center fielder.[2]



At the age of 17, Martín joined Villa Clara in the Cuban National Series.[2] He also played for the Cuban national baseball team. Martín earned $40 a week.[2] In the 2009-2010 season, Martín batted .326 with 10 home runs, 23 doubles, and 48 runs batted in (RBI).[3][4] In five seasons with Villa Clara, Martín batted .314.[4]

For the Cuban national team, Martín appeared in the 2006 World Junior Baseball Championship. He appeared in the 2009 World Port Tournament,[5] which Cuba won.[6] He 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.[2] 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.[4]

Martín defected from Cuba during the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship.[3] He traveled to Tokyo, before arriving in Mexico, where he successfully petitioned Major League Baseball to allow him to become a free agent.[2]

Texas Rangers

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.[2][7] 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,[8] the Rangers promoted Martín to the Round Rock Express of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League in July.[2] He also spent two days working on baserunning and defense with Rangers coach Gary Pettis.[4]

For the Express, Martín batted .263 with no home runs, and 17 runs batted in (RBI) in 175 at bats.[9] The Rangers promoted Martín to the major leagues on August 30, 2011, when Nelson Cruz went on the disabled list.[9] Making his major league debut on September 2, Martín recorded his first MLB hit against Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox.[10] Appearing in eight games for the Rangers, Martín recorded three hits in eight at bats, including one double.[11] The Rangers added Martín to their roster for the 2011 American League Division Series, but he did not make an appearance.[11]

Martín at Minute Maid Park (2014)

The Rangers optioned Martín to Round Rock during spring training in 2012.[12] 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.[11]

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.

Seattle Mariners

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).[13]

Martin 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's parents are divorced. His mother, brother and three sisters live in Cuba. His father lives in Miami.[2]

See also


  1. "Blog | Baseball America Prospects Blog | Sizing Up Cuban Defector Leonys Martin". Baseball America. September 16, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Barry Horn (August 6, 2011). "Leonys Martin's long journey from Cuba has him ready for Rangers | Texas Rangers News — Sports News for Dallas, Texas — SportsDayDFW". Dallasnews.com. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  3. 1 2 "Foul Territory: Sources: Rangers attempting to sign Cuban outfielder". Sportsblogs.star-telegram.com. April 6, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "Texas Rangers call up Cuban OF Leonys Martin, move Darren O'Day to DL - ESPN Dallas". Espn.go.com. August 31, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  5. "Cuba Beats Rival Japan 8-0". Havana Times.org. July 3, 2009. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  6. "An assesment [sic] of Cuba's success in the Rotterdam Tournament | Cuba News Headlines. Cuban Daily News". Cubaheadlines.com. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  7. Grant, Evan (May 4, 2011). "Rangers make Leonys Martin signing official | Texas Rangers Blog | Sports News | News for Dallas, Texas | The Dallas Morning News". Rangersblog.dallasnews.com. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  8. "The Dallas Morning News | Options". Dallasnews.com. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  9. 1 2 Rangers to call up Leonys Martin today; playing time might be limited Dallas Morning News
  10. Lee, Tony (September 3, 2011). "Red Sox Live Blog: Rangers Hammer Sox 10-0 in Series Opener at Fenway Park | Boston Red Sox". NESN.com. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  11. 1 2 3 C. Trent Rosecrans (June 11, 2008). "Rangers call up Leonys Martin, Koji Uehara goes to DL". CBSSports.com. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  12. "The Dallas Morning News | Options". Dallasnews.com. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  13. "Rangers ship Leonys Martin to Mariners for RHP Tom Wilhelmsen in 5-player deal". Dallas Morning News. November 16, 2015. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
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