Newly Signed Leonys Martin Shines for AA Frisco RoughRiders in U.S. Debut

Clay ThomasContributor IIMay 13, 2011

SAN DIEGO - MARCH 16: Leonys Martin #26 of Cuba is congratulated by teammates after scoring a run against Mexico during the 2009 World Baseball Classic Round 2 Pool 1 Game 3 on March 16, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

For many, it would have been the biggest game of their life.

For Cuban-born Leonys Martin though, it was just another day at the park.

The 23-year-old was emotionally stone-cold. After signing for $15.5 million over the next five years, there had to have been something racing through his mind. Nerves should have been running high, but the only thing running were his legs.

In his U.S. debut for the Texas Rangers' AA affiliate, the Frisco Roughriders, he had three hits in five at bats, including two doubles and a stolen base. He also played error-free baseball while starting in centerfield.

That's a helluva game, given the situation.

Making a transition from Cuba to America is tough.

Crossing a language barrier is tough.

Starting your big-league career in AA is tough.

Combine it all into one, and it goes to show how impressive this kid really is.

The Texas Rangers don't just go out and spend money. They are one of the most economically frugal franchises in baseball. They have the fifth biggest market and the 13th biggest payroll at $92,299,265—which is a HUGE step up from the $60-$65 million payroll fans are used to seeing.

They wouldn't go out and spend money on just anyone. No, they must have been scouting this guy out for a while. This guy is going to be big.

Thursday night's performance showed it.