According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), clerical workers comprise around 15% of the work force, the highest of any group. Yet, they are often the faceless members of society. Get your mind out of the Game of Thrones gutter. The pay is low and the recognition is light, but they provide value and are an important aspect of society. Since you are a loyal Razzball reader, you know that Saves Ain’t Got No Face, as the position is so volatile and the closer carousel keeps going round and round with players shuffling on and off, that one does not need to get emotionally attached and splurge on a ring for saves. With that said, saves still constitue one category and are important. Well, Jose Leclerc was one of the most dropped players in ESPN leagues over the past week (decrease of 13.9%), as he was stripped of his closing responsibilities for now, so let’s give this Leclerc some attention and see if he deserves some love.

Leclerc burst onto the scene last season and tallied 12 saves in 57.2 innings with 85 strikeouts and a 1.56 ERA. The walks, though. A total of 25, which translated to a BB/9 of 3.90. The 13.27 K/9, the 9th-best mark among all relievers last season, was too tantalizing for owners to pass up, as they were drafting him on average with the 112th overall pick in NFBC drafts before the start of the 2019 season.

Well, so far, the K/9 is 12.34, but the BB/9 has rocketed to 6.94. The HR/9 rate is a whopping 1.54. Last season, that number was 0.16.

The number that immediately jumps out to me is the .414 BABIP. Last year, Leclerc sported a .211 BABIP. So he got super lucky last season and he’s getting unlucky this season, but we already touched on the increased walk rate and the xFIP is still 5.24. Luck has played a part for sure, but it’s primarily been on LeClerc.

The fastball velocity has been fine. In fact, the 96.1 mph average is the highest of his career. He’s inducing more ground balls and fewer fly balls, yet the HR/FB is an absurd 18.2% and the Hard% is an eye-opening 54.8%! Hmmm, what is going on here?

The swinging strike rate is at 8.1%. He had never had a rate below 12% before and his career average is 15%. Batters are not chasing pitches outside the strikezone, as the O-Swing% is at 21.7%, 10% lower than last season. The overall contact rate is at 79%, 16% higher than last year. Batters are also swinging at fewer pitches in general.

Manager Chris Woodward mentioned the possibility a few weeks ago that Leclerc may be tipping his pitches, and that makes complete sense to me. Batters are pulling the ball 12% more than last season, yet they are still spitting on pitches outside the strikezone. Tough to do when Leclerc possesses a 96 mph fastball.

The Rangers signed Leclerc to a four-year, $14.75 million contract extension in the off season. That in and of itself does not guarantee that he will remain the closer. He still has to pitch effectively, but it does give an indication of the good will he fostered with his performance last season and leads me to believe that he will at least get a chance to get an opportunity to reclaim his role.

So far as I know, there is no injury to be worried about with Leclerc. It seems to be a tipping-his-pitches issue, which can be rectified.

TREASURE

  1. Phil says:
    (link)

    Thanks, Son. I actually agree with your sentiment and appreciate the detailed assessment. It makes me feel a bit better that I’m still inclined to roster him…at least at this juncture.

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      No prob. Yeah, key words….”at least at this juncture.” =)

  2. Blue Devil says:
    (link)

    Would you still keep Treinen as a closer and Taillon as a SP? Since both are hurt I don’t think I can trade them.

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      I have both and am keeping them, but it’s dependent on league/team context

  3. Jeremy Burke says:
    (link)

    Yeah im keeping Leclerc on my roster for a while longer–he should get another shot and i dont see Kelley running away with the job.
    Unfortunately i also drafted Alvarado who is sharing duties right now. Picked up Blake Parker and last save chance went to someone else.
    Do you think Parker is still the closer or should i start looking elsewhere?

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      I think MIN is a committee

      Depends on league context. If saves are available on the wire, then sure. If not, probably have to hold, as he is likely to lead the committee

  4. Brew HaHa says:
    (link)

    Trash or Treasure…Travis Shaw?

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      I’m starting to get worried about Shaw, especially his inability to put the bat on the ball. I’m giving him a little bit more time, though, as he has a track record and the lineup/ballpark are favorable. Trashy treasure

  5. Jordan says:
    (link)

    Hey!

    I need to get rid of one of the guys below (not a holds league).

    Jeffress, Kelley, Martin, Leclerc, Buttrey

    Thinking Martin, but what are your thoughts?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      Martin for me as well

  6. Dumb as a Rockie says:
    (link)

    G.Hampson…trash or treasure?

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      Trash

  7. Harley Earl says:
    (link)

    Nice article on LeClerc. I’ve got him in dynasty and I definitely believe he will be given a shot to reclaim his role. He got a hold in a game late last week. And, perfect timing with your article tonight, he pitched two scoreless innings in a 5-4 defeat. If he can continue this for a few weeks, I can see him eventually getting a couple of save opportunities. We’ll see.

    His numbers are definitely goofy. Maybe tipping pitches has been his issue. I’m sure the Rangers are trying to figure that out themselves. Good work as always.

    Oh, and about Travis Shaw, he’s trash. I’d dump him. Keston Hiura hit his 11th bomb last night and is hitting .349 at Triple-A. Moustakas will moved to 3B come July 1 and Hiura will be up for the job at 2B.

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      Thanks Harley!

      As for Shaw, I could see it playing out like that. It’s not like the Brewers are committed to him

  8. Chucky says:
    (link)

    Dump Freddy P for Pablo? Giolito?

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      I’ve never been a Freddy guy, so sure. I prefer Pablo between the two, but I’d just play matchups if I could

  9. Uncle Ernie says:
    (link)

    Now that Strop is sidelined in the Windy City. Who do you see jumping in there? Cishek looks to be best suited and I feel could run away with it with Morrow out indefinitely. Who would you pick up. Thanks

    • Uncle Ernie says:
      (link)

      Or pick up Cody Allen off waivers. Thanks

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      Cishek

Comments are closed.