José Ramon Leclerc…he and his wife, Oclenny Blanco, have a son: Joshuel…brother Anyelo, a right-handed pitcher, was signed by Texas on 11/15/10 and selected by Boston in the minor league phase of the 2015 Rule 5 Draft.
Led the Texas staff in appearances (70), saves (14) and games finished (40), all career highs…ranked 4th on the club with 100 strikeouts in just 68.1 IP, the fewest innings ever for a Rangers pitcher to record 100+ strikeouts…had a 4.43 ERA (32 ER/65.0 IP) in 67 relief appearances and a 2.45 ERA (1 ER/3.2 IP) in 3 starts as the "opener"…allowed 7 HR after having permitted just 5 HR in his 1st 3 ML seasons, and had a career-high 4.33 ERA.
Posted the lowest relief opp. BA in the majors (.126) and ranked among A.L. leaders in opp. OPS (2nd, .431), ERA (2nd, 1.56), WHIP (3rd, 0.85), and SO/9 (7th, 13.27)…was the 4th-lowest opponent average (.1257) by a reliever in ML history (min. 150 BF) behind only CIN's Aroldis Chapman in 2014 (.121), CAL's Andy Messersmith in 1968 (.124), and ATL's Craig Kimbrel in 2012 (.1256)…was the 3rd-lowest relief ERA in Rangers history to Neal Cotts (1.11) and Joe Nathan (1.39) in 2013…for the season, Leclerc whiffed 38.1% (85 of 223) of all batters faced…made the club's Opening Day roster for the 2nd straight season and had 3 stints with Texas: Opening Day-4/4, 4/21-26, and 4/30-end of season…had 4 total outings with Round Rock (AAA)…posted 6.2 SHO IP in 6 G with Cibao in Dominican Winter League in November and December.
Finished the season as the club's closer, going 12-for-12 in save opportunities from 8/4 through the end of the season…was T6th in the A.L. in saves following the All-Star break, and ranked T3rd in both A.L./MLB in saves from 8/4-end of year…ranked 2nd among Rangers (24-Kela)…had saves in 7 straight TEX wins 8/13-24, longest such span since Francisco Cordero (8, 4/9-22/05)…went 7-for-7 in save chances in August, finishing T3rd in MLB in saves for the month (SEA's Edwin Díaz-10; STL's Bud Norris-8)…saves by winning pitcher: 4-Minor, 2-Jurado/Moore, 1-Colon/Gallardo/Gearrin/Hutchison…each of last 4 saves were for Minor or Jurado (2 each). Overall, converted 12 of 16 save tries (75.0%) in 2018, with last blown save on 7/25 vs. OAK…he is 14-for-19 in save tries for his career, 1st save on 4/12/17 at LAA, when he retired Trout (K) and Pujols (F8) on 4 pitches in 8th inning.
In first full ML season, posted 7th-lowest opponents avg. (.146) among qualifying A.L. relievers…ranked among staff leaders in games (4th, 47) and games finished (3rd, 15)…finished 7th on staff with 60 SO, just 2nd TEX reliever to crack 60 K's in past 2 seasons (Matt Bush - 61 SO in 2016)…opposing RH batters hit just .108 (10-93), lowest in MLB among pitchers with 80+ AB against…posted at least one strikeout in each of his first 18 outings, the longest seasonopening streak in club history by a reliever…1st career save on 4/12 at LAA, when retired Trout (K) and Pujols (F8) on 4 pitches in 8th inning…1st ML win on 6/13 at HOU…over 1st 34 outings through 8/8, had a 2.88 ERA (11 ER/34.1 IP), then had 7.15 ERA (9 ER/11.1 IP) in final 13 appearances to finish with a 3.94 ERA…on 9/2 vs. LAA, walked all 3 BF to open the 10th inning, all of which would eventually score as Leclerc took loss in 7-4 defeat…made 4 appearances the rest of the way: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 SO, 18 BF.
INJURY/REHAB // Was on the disabled list, 5/8-6/1, with a bruised right index finger, an issue he pitched through for much of the season's first 5 weeks…was placed on the disabled list a day after issuing walks to 3 of 5 batters faced in Seattle…completed a rehab assignment with Frisco, 5/28-6/1, tossing 2.0 scoreless innings in 2 outings.
Posted 1.80 ERA (3 ER/15.0 IP) across 12 relief appearances spanning 2 stints with Texas (7/5-15 and 9/4- end of season) in his first major league action…had 13 BB/15 SO with a 1.600 WHIP figure…in 1st 5 outings, allowed 4 R/3 ER in 7.1 IP with 11 BB/8 SO…in final 7 G beg. 9/8, posted 7.2 shutout innings with 2 BB/7 SO…had no holds, 5 games finished, no save chances, and allowed 4 of 6 inherited runners to score…did not pitch in a win, and club trailed in every contest when he entered…made ML debut 7/6 at BOS (2.2 IP, 0 R, 4 SO), just 2nd reliever in Texas history with 4+ K's over 2.0+ scoreless innings in a debut, joining Neftali Feliz (4 K in 2.0 IP on 8/3/09 at OAK).
Recorded the 8th-most strikeouts (98) in the Texas League, while leading the league in walks (73)…also tied for the 6th-most hit batsmen (6)…held right-handed batters to a .218/.330/.376 line, while left-handed hitters batted .280/.415/.394…was 1-0, 6.75 (6 ER/8.0 IP) as a reliever and 5-8, 5.68 (60 ER/95.0 IP) as a starter…completed 6.0 innings in 3 starts, allowing zero-or-one run in all 3 outings… started season in the bullpen and made 3 relief appearances (6 ER/6.0 IP) before joining rotation on 4/25…allowed 4 runs over 1.2 innings in first start on 4/25 vs. CC and went 4-3, 3.42 (29 ER/76.1 IP) with 68 strikeouts over next 16 starts…was 0-4, 15.19 (27 ER/16.0 IP) over final 5 starts.
Led all Texas farmhands and ranked 4th in the Carolina League with 14 saves…averaged career high in SO/9 (12.4)…whiffed 32% (79 of 243) of all batters faced…surrendered a season-high 7 runs on 8/17 at Salem…held RH batters to a .175 avg. (21-120) with 54 SO… opponents went 8-for-55 (.145) with RISP…was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER/9.2 IP) and 19 strikeouts against one walk in 7 relief appearances with Cibao in the Dominican Winter League…held DWL batters to a .065 average (2-31).
Jumped to Hickory in first season stateside and led the Crawdads in relief appearances…averaged 11.7 SO/9… converted 5 of 8 save chances…held opposition to a .275 average (19-69) with RISP…limited RH batters to a .191 average (27-141), with lefties at .325 (26-80)…was 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA (3 ER/25.2 IP) over 19 outings following the break… allowed runs in just 2 of last 20 outings.
Returned to the DSL Rangers and logged the 2nd-most relief innings on the staff…permitted just 6.2 hits per 9.0 innings and allowed just one home run.
Pitched for the DSL Rangers in his 1st professional season and recorded a team-high 5 holds.