Leonys Martín Tápanes (born March 6, 1988) is a Cuban-American professional baseball center fielder for the Cleveland Indians 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.
Martín with the Texas Rangers in 2015
|Cleveland Indians – No. 2|
|Born: March 6, 1988|
Corralillo, Villa Clara, Cuba
|September 2, 2011, for the Texas Rangers|
|MLB statistics |
(through June 14, 2019)
|Runs batted in||228|
While in Taiwan for the 2010 World University Baseball Championship, Martín defected from Cuba in order to become a Major League Baseball free agent. He signed with the Texas Rangers in 2011, and made his MLB debut later that season. Martín has also played for the Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers.
Martín was born in Villa Clara Province in Cuba. He 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.
At the age of 17, Martín joined Villa Clara in the Cuban National Series. He 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. He appeared in the 2009 World Port Tournament, which Cuba won. 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. 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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
On August 31, 2017, the Chicago Cubs acquired Martín and cash for a player to be named later or cash from the Mariners. Between the two teams in 2017 he batted .172/.232/.281. Martin made the Cubs 2017 playoff roster due to his above average speed and defense. He was outrighted to Triple-A on November 6, 2017, and elected free agency later that day.
On December 5, 2017, the Detroit Tigers signed Martín to a one-year, $1.75 million deal. Martín hit his first career grand slam on April 19, 2018, off Mike Wright of the Baltimore Orioles. On April 25, Martín hit a home run in both games of a doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates, becoming the first Tiger player to do so since Don Kelly on October 1, 2010. On May 8, Martín was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. On July 2, he was placed on the disabled list for the second time with a hamstring injury. For the season with Detroit he batted .251/.321/.409.
On July 31, 2018, Martín and Kyle Dowdy were traded to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Willi Castro. Nine days later Martín was placed on the 10-day disabled after an undisclosed illness. On August 13, 2018, Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti announced Martín was recovering from a life-threatening bacterial infection and that there was no timetable for Martín's return to baseball activities. On August 22, the Indians ruled Martín out for the remainder of 2018 as a precaution. In 2018 he had only 15 at bats for Cleveland.
Martín signed a one-year contract for the 2019 season with the Indians on October 31, 2018, avoiding salary arbitration.
On June 25, 2018, Martín became a naturalized United States citizen.
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- "Indians are asking fans to keep Leonys Martin in their thoughts as he deals with illness". CBSSports.com. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
- Hoynes, Paul (August 13, 2018). "Cleveland Indians outfielder Leonys Martin slowly recovering from life-threatening bacterial infection". Cleveland.com.
- "Leonys Martin out for the rest of 2018". MLB. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
- Hoynes, Paul (October 31, 2018). "Cleveland Indians avoid arbitration with OF Leonys Martin, agree on one-year deal". Cleveland.com.
- Tyler Fenwick (June 25, 2018). "Iglesias, Martin sworn in as US citizens". MLB.com. Retrieved June 27, 2018.