Jose Leclerc
25-Year-Old PitcherRP
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Thanks to his poor finish to the 2017 campaign, Leclerc spent the first month of the 2018 season shuttling between Triple-A Round Rock and the majors. The right-hander ultimately emerged as one of the Rangers' primary setup men in May following a stretch of seven scoreless appearances, and his continued success earned him the closer's role after Keone Kela was dealt to Pittsburgh at the end of July. Leclerc was dominant after taking over in the ninth inning, converting all 12 of his save chances while notching a 29:6 K:BB across 18 scoreless innings. His improved control was key to his breakout season, as he dropped his walk rate to 3.9 BB/9 after posting a 7.9 BB/9 over his first two seasons. Leclerc figures to reprise his role as closer to begin 2019, and while his save chances may be limited on a rebuilding team, the 24-year-old should still provide value with his impressive ratios (1.56 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 13.3 K/9 in 2018). Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a four-year, $14.75 million contract extension with the Rangers in March of 2019. Contract includes $6 million team option ($750,000 buyout) for 2023 and $6.25 million team option ($750,000 buyout) for 2024.
Perfect as opener
PTexas Rangers
May 18, 2019
Leclerc struck out two and did not allow a hit in one inning as the opener in Friday's 7-3 win over the Cardinals.
Leclerc began with two balls but settled in after that. Matt Carpenter grounded out to second before Leclerc fanned Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong. He's made five appearances since being removed as the closer and allowed one run on one hit and three walks with 10 strikeouts over six innings. There's still no word on when/if he'll return to the closer's role, but manager Chris Woodward is pleased with his work. "I thought today was a good challenge for him, coming out and starting the game," Woodward told T.R. Sullivan of "Something he has never done before. Facing the top of the lineup, best hitters. He came out, threw ball one, ball two, two pretty close pitches, and then he pretty much blew the rest of them away. The last couple of times out, he has been really good. Good to see."
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .198 196 51 29 32 12 1 3
Since 2017vs Right .120 306 118 49 30 7 0 4
2019vs Left .393 34 7 6 11 5 0 1
2019vs Right .114 45 17 7 4 1 0 1
2018vs Left .114 86 28 13 8 3 1 0
2018vs Right .132 137 57 12 16 5 0 1
2017vs Left .203 76 16 10 13 4 0 2
2017vs Right .108 124 44 30 10 1 0 2
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
Since 2017Home 3.39 1.07 66.1 3 3 12 12.3 4.6 0.5
Since 2017Away 2.68 1.29 53.2 2 4 7 13.1 7.4 0.5
2019Home 5.23 1.35 10.1 1 0 5 12.2 5.2 0.9
2019Away 7.11 2.21 6.1 0 1 0 14.2 9.9 1.4
2018Home 2.48 0.80 32.2 2 2 7 12.7 2.8 0.3
2018Away 0.36 0.92 25.0 0 1 5 14.0 5.4 0.0
2017Home 3.86 1.33 23.1 0 1 0 12.0 6.9 0.8
2017Away 4.03 1.43 22.1 2 2 2 11.7 8.9 0.8
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Stat Review
How does Jose Leclerc compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
96.1 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Midway through his rookie season, the 24-year-old Leclerc appeared as though he might be the best reliever in the Texas bullpen and seemed primed to get a look as closer after Matt Bush was pulled from the role in late June. Alas, Alex Claudio ultimately captured closing duties, while Leclerc's second-half implosion effectively resulted in manager Jeff Banister dropping him from the setup ranks. Finding the strike zone was the foremost problem for Leclerc, who finished with a 20:24 K:BB in 19.1 innings after the break. An 11.8 K/9 rate and .146 batting average against speaks to the upside Leclerc possesses when he's able to throw strikes, but he may be in need of some mechanical adjustments, considering his issues with walking batters were also prevalent throughout his minor-league career. Until Leclerc demonstrates significant improvement with his control, the Rangers aren't likely to trust him as a key cog of the bridge to the ninth inning.
Leclerc continues to climb up the Rangers' prospect ranks thanks to another strong showing in the minor leagues. He began the season with Double-A Frisco, but his 10.96 K/9 n 23 innings earned him a promotion to the Triple-A ranks. The 23-year-old continued fanning batters during his time at Round Rock, as he held a 10.5 K/9 and an ERA 80 points better than at his previous stop. All of this culminated in a September call-up, when he held his own with one strikeout per inning. Not everything was perfect for the right-hander, however. His control still leaves much to be desired, shown by his 51 walks across the three levels. His 0.65 GB/FB with Texas also doesn't read well for a pitcher who will eventually pitch in one of the most hitter-friendly environments in the American League. Of course, Leclerc should be afforded the opportunity to compete for a major league roster spot out of spring training, although he will likely be given additional time at Triple-A to begin the season with the goal of improving his command.
More Fantasy News
Getting look as opener
PTexas Rangers
May 16, 2019
Manager Chris Woodward said Leclerc would be used as an opener for the Rangers in Friday's game against the Cardinals, Robert Falkoff of reports.
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Throws two shutout innings
PTexas Rangers
May 8, 2019
Leclerc did not allow a hit, walked one and struck out one over two scoreless innings in Tuesday's 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh.
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Temporarily out as closer
PTexas Rangers
May 1, 2019
Manager Chris Woodward told MLB Network Radio that the Rangers will use Leclerc in lower-leverage situations to "get him back on track" before returning him to the closer's role.
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Manager considers alternatives
PTexas Rangers
May 1, 2019
Manager Chris Woodward acknowledged that it's time to consider alternatives to Leclerc as closer, T.R. Sullivan of reports.
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Blows second save
PTexas Rangers
April 30, 2019
Leclerc allowed three runs on four hits with two strikeouts in a blown save against the Pirates on Tuesday.
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