Texas Rangers in Double-A: Who’s Hot, Who’s Not For Frisco?

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Mar 25, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; A general view of a New York Mets glove, baseballs and bag laying on the field prior to the game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Leclerc, statistically, is struggling this season. The 21-year old righty has made five appearances, including two starts with Frisco, totaling 11 2/3 innings. His ERA is by far the highest of any starting pitcher at 8.49, while his WHIP is a subpar 1.97. Of the pitchers that have made starts this season, only Victor Payano‘s 1.98 is worse. The young righty has walked 14 in limited innings, with his walk total being lower than his innings total in just one appearance this season. This has likely lead to his inflated ERA, and has certainly contributed to his high WHIP.

That’s the bad, but there is plenty to be optimistic about with Leclerc. Batters are hitting just .209 against him this season, and he has struck out 18 for a 13.9 K/9 ratio. In his last outing, he went four innings, his highest total of the season, of no-hit ball while issuing five walks and allowing one run to score.

FanGraphs said of Leclerc last season, “…is a live-bodied, athletic righty with a clean arm that sits 91-95 and has hit 97 mph with an above average slider and usable curveball and changeup. The command is still below average, but the strikeout and groundball rates are both strong and he’ll be 21 next year when he heads to AA.”

Leclerc’s minor league totals suggest that he is a ground ball pitcher, with a cumulative ground ball to fly ball ratio of 1.18, while his 2015 Frisco total sits currently at 0.45. This is pure speculation, but if his command improves mightily, he could be a bullpen fixture in the coming years. Those strikeout rates are hard to ignore.

Next: Pitcher of the Month