A few things out there this morning:
- Batting leadoff in his first-ever professional game with Double-A Frisco on Thursday night, Leonys Martin went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a stolen base in a 10-7 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks; during his afternoon press conference preceding the evening's festivities, Martin, through an interpreter, remarked: "Today is an unforgettable moment for myself. This is something I've always dreamed of, which is to play at the highest level in the world. I am very proud to get to this organization and have my dream come true ... On the field I want to do everything the right way. I'm not going to rush myself. I want to prove to the people that believe in me that I am capable of making it to the big leagues." (William Wilkerson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
[Meanwhile, Julio Borbon has ridden a 12-for-31 run at the plate over his last 10 games to a present .279 batting average and, curiously enough, a leadoff spot of his own, though that bit of lineup experimentation may prove short-lived if Borbon's low-.300s on-base percentage persists for very long. I suspect that if Borbon doesn't fiercely stake his claim to the major league center field gig over the next couple of months, we're going to encounter more and more speculation about when (not if) one is going to supplant the other, but it remains very difficult to believe that Martin is going to bring together both the talent and adjustments so quickly that he could be a legitimate asset at the major league level inside of the next 3-4 months -- or, to put it another way, that he could provide enough value over Borbon to justify the enhanced risk of such a speedy call-up dinging his long-term growth potential.
For what it's worth, Jim Bowden (now affiliated with the ESPN Sweet Spot network, which I find pretty cool) synopsized the evaluation of Martin that he had received from some other teams and talent evaluators, and also posted up some individual tool scouting grades: "Above-average defender in center field with first-step quickness with good jumps and angles. His arm is above average and accurate. ... Line-drive hitter with sweet spot contact. Has good strike zone awareness. Stays back well on secondary pitches. ... Knows how to work counts and can draw walks. Has pull power that has the potential of developing in time. Potential leadoff hitter who can steal bases. ... Intelligent player with good baseball instincts. Knows how to play the game. Aptitude is off the charts. ... Long-term solution in the leadoff spot and center field. Chance to be an impact top-of-the-order bat with above-average, but not burner, speed."]
- Anthony Andro on why the Rangers aren't falling out of the race: "The Rangers can thank their 9-1 start for that. Sure the Rangers have lost 17 of 27 games, but they're only 1.5 games behind the Angels in the West. If the Rangers can find a way to sweep through the Los Angeles trio of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, they're right back on top. And, please, don't go glory days in thinking about the 2010 season. After 37 games last year, the Rangers were 20-17. One less win is no reason to panic." (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
[It's a bit early for intent monitoring of the division standings; the best way to go about things is to briefly eyeball the games back column, and so long as you're not mired in a 5-6 game hole (or worse), you have sufficient cause to not panic. We can save the microanalysis for August and September, if it comes to that point. I'm also not big on staring at Baseball Prospectus post-season odds reports until at least late June or so, but I suspect someone will find this interesting: despite their present 1.5-game deficit, the Rangers still boast a division-leading 49.8 percent chance of claiming the division title. Of course, the Angels are also pegged at merely 12.7 percent, so make of that what you will.]