Jose Leclerc scouting report:
Alrighty, the big proto-pterodactyl that is the big league squad has swooped down to the swamps of the farm and grabbed a little bullpen help. Let's make this quick, cuz, you and I both got stuff to do.
In short, Jose is a dude. Has been for a while. The 22 year old was a nasty reliever for the first few years he was in the minors, racking up Ks and saves. Then the club decided to try him as a starter for a couple seasons and I was fully on board with the grand experiment. He isn't a big dude, listed at 6'0" 190, and I'd say that's about right. He's also not a boisterous dude. Expect no histrionics and expect very little emotional displays at all. He ain't exactly The Big Chill, but he might be The Little Cold Front.
Jose made 22 starts for Frisco last year and another 2 this season before his inability to get through the order multiple times and his sometimes loosey goosey command forced the Rangers to put him back in the bullpen. That said, he's a guy I think will be able to go 2 innings in relief at the big league level as long as he's throwing strikes. And that's Jose in a nutshell. He's throwing strikes--he's tough to beat. He's missing the zone with his FB & leaving the double changeup attack up--he ain't gonna last long.
Embedded in that last sentence is the most unique thing about Jose. He throws 2 different CHs. His primary change is a cut change. It's really weird, and if it's on, it gives hitters a very strange look. I once asked Pitching Coordinator Danny Clark and Rangers roving pitching czar/special assistant Mark Connor if in all their years as pitching instructors (about 50, combined) they'd ever seen a cut change, and they both agreed no more than a couple of guys they'd seen. It's a strange pitch. When it's crappy, it looks like a flat SL and when it hangs, it's trouble, especially to lefties. It might even give Pitch F/X fits because of its movement and it spins quite slower than a SL. He also throws a traditional CH that fades armside. 2 changeups! What a trick. (former Rangers farmhand and current Cubbie, Kyle Hendricks also throws a cut CH). Jose also has a mega slow, loopy CB. That one is gonna be scary as all get out when he throws it to MLBers because it comes in about 73-76mph and can get drilled real real far if someone is able to pick up the spin and wait on it long enough.
Great kid, and a bit of a quiet storm. He's a very good competitor and has always pitched with very little fear- a trait I hope he maintains, even against the big boys. Bottom line for Jose (and all relief pitchers) is: DON'T WALK GUYS. He has the stuff to get big leaguers out, even when there's ducks on the pond, he's just got to trust his stuff, trust the fielders, and go right at dem big guns.
4-seam FB: 93-96 T 98, bit of run, he can overthrow it and miss glove side.
Cut CH: 83-86, very fun pitch when it's on. When it's bad, it looks like a crappy SL. He'll use this when ahead in the count.
CH: same velo but with the tradtional arm side fade. Not a bad pitch. Kinda new to him, but he's comfortable with it.
CB: 73-76: works best on the heels of a good FB. 20mph velo sep. Not a huge swing and miss option...yet.
**MiLB Minutiae: Jose's 24 year old big brother, Anyelo was in the Rangers system until this season. He's currently pitching for the Red Sox high-A club in Salem.
***MiLB Minutiae #2: Jose's agent is former Rangers scout, Nick English, who is also managing the young careers of a whole posse of Rangers prospects.
As Always, Enjoy Baseball!