Jose Ramon Leclerc
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 190 lb.
Pitcher Jose Leclerc began his professional career in 2011 at 17 years old. He was signed by the Texas Rangers.
With the DSL Rangers in 2011, he was 3-2 with a 2.36 ERA in 20 games (one start). The next year, he went 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA in 19 relief appearances. Moving stateside in 2013, Leclerc was 3-4 with a 3.36 ERA in 39 games. In 59 innings, he allowed 53 hits, while striking out 77 batters. After going 4-1 with a 3.30 ERA in 42 games and K-ing 12.4 batters per nine innings in 2014, Leclerc pitched for the Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Republic over the winter, striking out 19 batters and walking just one in 9 2/3 innings. His WHIP was 0.310. In 2015, he pitched for the Frisco RoughRiders, going 6-8 with a 5.77 ERA in a failed conversion to starting pitcher; though he allowed just 97 hits and 98 strikeouts in 103 innings, he also walked 73 batters.
Returning to a relief role, he began 2016 with Frisco, but was promoted to Triple-A for the first time. After a successful stint with the Round Rock Express, Leclerc was promoted to the majors on July 5th. On July 6th, he made his big league debut against the Boston Red Sox. Pitching 2 2/3 innings in relief of starter Martin Perez, he struck out four batters, including the first man he faced - Ryan Hanigan. He was optioned back to the minors on July 16th after walking eight batters in his first 5 2/3 innings pitched. He ended that first year with no decisions but an ERA of 1.80 in 12 games, covering 15 innings. In 2017, he pitched 47 times for the Rangers, with a record of 2-3 and an ERA of 3.94. He had 2 saves and some of his peripheral numbers were outstanding, i.e. allowing just 23 hits in 45 2/3 innings, with 60 strikeouts. His nemesis was wildness, as he walked 40 opponents.
In 2018, Leclerc improved his control dramatically, with 25 walks in 57 2/3 innings. Opposing batters still found it very hard to make contact, with just 24 hits, and he struck out a whopping 80 opponents. He inherited the closer's job after Keone Kela went down with an injury and picked up 12 saves, to go along with a record of 2-3, 1.56. He did not allow any runs over his final 21 innings. On March 6, 2019, the Rangers rewarded him with the offer of a four-year contract worth $14.75 million, covering his period of eligibility for salary arbitration.