Texas Rangers Spring Training Preview: Jose Leclerc

Texas Rangers Spring Training Preview: Jose Leclerc thumbnail

Jose Leclerc returned to health in 2022 and eventually took over the closer role in the final two months of the season.

InsidetheRangers.com previews every player on the Texas Rangers 40-man roster heading into Spring Training in Surprise, Arizona.

P José Leclerc

In 2022: Leclerc started the season on the 60-day injured list as he continued his rehab from Tommy John surgery.

His return in June was well-timed. The Rangers needed a power right-hander and he ended up with his best season since 2018, when he went 2-3 with 1.56 ERA and 16 saves. The 2-for-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was solid as was the sub-.200 opponent batting average. By season’s end, though, the Rangers slid him back into the ninth-inning role he had before his Tommy John surgery and he recorded all of his saves after Aug. 14. He had a 15.00 ERA in his first three appearances of the season. After that, his monthly splits in July (2.35), August (2.04) and September (1.54) showed that his command and arm were coming around.

Leclerc went 0-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 39 appearances (all in relief). He had seven saves and four holds. He threw 47 2/3 innings, giving up 33 hits, 17 runs (15 earned), five home runs and 21 walks. He struck out 54. Opponents hit .192 against him.

The best part? Leclerc never had to go back to the injured list once he returned to Arlington.

Leclerc’s Career at a Glance: The Rangers signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2010 and he made his Major League debut in 2016. He’s always been a reliever and he’s 6-13 with a 3.12 ERA for his career, along with 36 saves. He didn’t pitch in 2021.

Contract Status: The Rangers picked up the option on Leclerc’s contract, which will allow him to make $6 million in 2023. He has another club option in 2024.

In Surprise: The best news the Rangers could have received is that Leclerc went through the grind of the final three months with no health issues. The way his arm came around late in the season as the closer was promising. But there are other candidates for the job, such as Joe Barlow and Jonathan Hernandez. He goes into Spring Training as one of those candidates to be the closer in 2023, perhaps the leading candidate, given that he ended the season in that role.

2023 Texas Rangers 40-Man Spring Training Previews:

Joe Barlow | John King | Dane Dunning | Brett Martin | Jake Odorizzi | Yerry Rodriguez | Owen White | Cole Ragans | Andrew Heaney | Glenn Otto | Josh Sborz | Ricky Vanasco | Cole Winn | Nathan Eovaldi | Jon Gray | Jonathan Hernández | Spencer Howard | Zak Kent |

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