The Texas Rangers have some young talented pitchers in their farm system, but how many of them can make a significant impact next season? Reliever Jose Leclerc was one of those pitchers, and now could become the next closer in Arlington.
Finding a ninth inning pitcher is gong to be one the main tasks for the Texas Rangers this off-season. Lefty Alex Claudio is likely headed back to setup man, which means could Jose Leclerc become the closer?
Many of the MLB’s best closing pitchers have similar traits to Leclerc. An overpowering fastball that can make hitters swing and miss with ease. His command has been the biggest problem, but Leclerc could have the most potential out of anyone in the Rangers bullpen currently.
In 2017 Leclerc finished 2-3 posting a 3.94 ERA in 47 games with two saves. The 23-year-old rookie struck out 60 batters in 45.2 innings, but also walked 40 batters. The Rangers will need to fix his command problems if he ever wants to take the next step.
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Claudio finished the 2017 season as closer and recorded 11 saves. He was given the role in July after multiple pitchers failed to hold down the role. The Rangers never claimed Claudio has closer which opens speculation that it could be anyone’s job in 2018.
It’s unlikely the Rangers will hand Leclerc the job out of camp with just two career saves. He’ll need to prove he has control of his pitches before he’s ready to take the next step in the big leagues.
If there is one pitcher that with the potential to be a superstar closer on the Rangers it’s Leclerc. Hopefully he can gain more control because he could be a truly special talent in Arlington.