33-Year-Old Pitcher – Free Agent
2017 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Sam LeCure in 2017. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Sam LeCure Contract Information:
Signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in April 2016.
LeCure signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers on Thursday.
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Sam LeCure Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Sam LeCure Defensive Stats
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Sam LeCure: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Sam LeCure.
LeCure has fallen far out of favor with the Reds' decision-makers, largely because of his inability to strike batters out. He languished at Triple-A Louisville for most of the 2015 season, posting a 5.25 ERA there over 60 innings. While he pitched better for the big league club late in the season, he was designated for assignment by the team and ended up getting outrighted from the 40-man roster.
When a pitcher doesn't throw especially hard to begin with, a dip in velocity can portend negative results. That's what happened to LeCure in 2014 -- his average fastball dropped from 89.3 mph down to 87.4 mph, and in the process his strikeout rate collapsed from 26.3% to 19.1%. It might also explain why when batters made contact they hit .334 against LeCure. The Reds didn't report any injuries to LeCure, nor did they rest him more than usual, so we don't have any given reason for his velocity loss other than the normal aging of a pitcher. It's extra troubling to the Reds that he was one of their better relievers in getting the ball to Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman, despite these negative indicators. Sometimes relievers go quickly when they go -- LeCure is in danger of that unless he recovers some of his velocity.
LeCure has become the Reds' Swiss Army Knife in their bullpen, capable of pitching effectively in multiple roles. His strikeout rate has steadily improved, despite throwing a fastball that averaged just 89.3 mph, in part because he's added a knuckle-curve to his repertoire to great success. It's worth noting that LeCure has had a reverse split the last three seasons and held left-handers to a .167 BA in 105 plate appearances. With a new analytics-friendly manager in Bryan Price, LeCure could have a bigger role in 2014.
LeCure once was a contender for a fifth starter's role, but now he's pretty well settled into a middle-to-long relief role, though he's proficient at that job. LeCure remains a four-pitch pitcher, though he relied more on his curveball than his slider last season, with positive results (4.9 runs above average when throwing the curve). He'll generate a decent number of groundballs and strikeouts, while keeping the ball in the ballpark, an important trait in Great American Ballpark. On that latter note, he ran a little lucky, allowing just three homers, thanks to a 6.5 percent HR/FB rate.
LeCure is a bit of a throwback - an old-school swingman, sporting an old-school mustache. He grew into the role in 2011, striking out nearly a batter per inning while being able to max out his fastball a little higher in relief. This is the extent of his ceiling, however - at age 27, there's no more growth to be had.
LeCure was serviceable for the Reds as an injury replacement starter and long reliever, but that's about the extent of his upside, particularly with a team as deep in starting pitching as the Reds. He has just average velocity, typically working in the high 80s, and relies more on pitchability than pure stuff to get opposing hitters out. He'll battle with the likes of Carlos Fisher for the Reds' final bullpen spot in spring training.
Like organization-mate Carlos Fisher, Lecure isn't a high upside prospect, but rather projects to be a spot-starter or long reliever. He needed two years to get through Double-A, and it looks like he'll need a second season at Triple-A Louisville in 2010.
In his second year at Double-A, Lecure improved nearly everything but his strikeout rate. He's not someone that projects to be an ace, but it's not too hard to envision him picking up a few spot starts in the case of injury, assuming that he doesn't implode with Triple-A Louisville.
Besides elite prospects like Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto, the Reds have a nice set of second-tier prospects like LeCure and Carlos Fisher that they hopefully can develop a useful fourth or fifth starter from. LeCure has an attractive strikeout rate but needs to cut down on his walks, particularly if he isn't going to become more of a groundball pitcher. He probably has a 2009 ETA, if he makes it.