Full name is Sandy David (Balan) Leon...Last name pronounced "lay-OHN." Married his wife, Liliana, in February 2016...They had their 1st child, Noah, in November 2017. Signed by Mike Rizzo and Dana Brown (Nationals).
Played a career-high 85 games with the Red Sox (77 starts), batting .225 (61-for-271) with 32 runs, 14 2B, and 7 HR...Also set career highs with 39 RBI and 25 BB...Ranked 3rd in MLB with a 3.41 catcher's ERA, the lowest by a Red Sox catcher since at least 1987. Caught 7 of the Red Sox' 11 team shutouts. Threw out 16 of 47 attempted base stealers (34.0%). Had 5 game-winning RBI. 5 of his 7 go-ahead RBI came in the 6th inning or later, including 1 in the 12th inning (4/5 vs. PIT, 3-run walk-off HR) and 1 in the 13th (7/25 at SEA, single). The Sox won 5 of his 6 games with a HR and went 16-8 when he drove in a run...Went 11-1 in his multi-hit games and 9-1 in his games with multiple RBI. 6 of his 7 HR came in the 6th inning or later, including a team-leading 4 as late as the 8th inning. Hit .280 (7-for-25, 2 HR) with RISP and 2 outs. In 14 extra-inning PA, went 5-for-11 (.455) with 2 runs, 2B, HR, 4 RBI. Hit safely from each side of the plate in each of the Sox' first 2 games of the season...The last Sox catcher with multiple hits in each of the team's first 2 games was Sammy White in 1954. Caught the first 3 runners attempting to steal over his first 4 games of the season. From 5/6-7 at MIN, went 5-for-9 (.556) with 3 HR...Marked his 1st time hitting 3 HR over a 2-game period. Recorded his 1st career multi-HR game on 5/7 at MIN, tying a career high with 4 RBI (3rd time). Through 5/13, was hitting .400 (8-for-20) with 2 XBH and a 1.055 OPS from the right side. Hit safely in 10 of 11 games with a PA from 6/9-7/1, going 14-for-39 (.359) with 8 R, 3 2B, HR, and 7 RBI. Scored at least 1 run in a career-high 6 straight games from 6/20-7/3 (7 total runs). From 7/25-8/25, drove in 13 runs over 15 games, including 4 multi-RBI efforts. Hit his 7th HR of the season on 9/26 vs. TOR, tying his career high set in 2016. POSTSEASON: Caught Games 1 and 3 of the ALDS vs. HOU, going 2-for-4 with an RBI in each game. Was the 1st Red Sox catcher to record multiple hits and at least 1 RBI in consecutive postseason games since Carlton Fisk in 1975 (ALCS Games 2 & 3). Caught the only runner who attempted to steal against him (Derek Fisher in Game 1).
Began his 2nd year in the Red Sox organization with Triple-A Pawtucket, but served as Boston's primary catcher after joining the club in June...Played in more games and recorded more hits, doubles, HR, RBI, BB, and runs scored than he did in his first 4 ML seasons combined. Received the Unsung Hero Award from the Boston chapter of the BBWAA. His .310 AVG (78-for-252) was the highest by a Red Sox catcher (min. 250 AB) since Carlton Fisk hit .315 in 1977...Was batting .356 with a .967 OPS at the end of play on 9/12, but went 4-for-44 (.091) in his final 14 games. Among switch-hitters with at least 250 AB, ranked 2nd in AVG and 3rd in OPS (.845). Posted a .373/.450/.612 batting line vs. LHP (25-for-67, 4 2B, 4 HR)...Hit .313 with RISP (21-for-67), .330 with 2 outs (30-for-91), and .325 at home (40-for-123)...Batted .440 with a 1.131 OPS when batting 9th (22-for-50, 7 2B, HR). Recorded a 3.90 catcher's ERA...Threw out 13 of 33 (39.4%) attempted base stealers...Had the 2nd-highest fielding percentage among catchers with at least 500 total chances (.998; 1 E/597 TC). Caught 3 shutouts, each of which was started by a different pitcher: 7/10 vs. TB (Price), 7/19 vs. SF (Porcello), and 8/5 at LAD (Wright). Selected to the ML roster from Pawtucket on 6/5 and spent the remainder of the season with BOS. According to Elias, became the 1st player in Red Sox history to record a hit in each of his first 5 plate appearances of a season...Hit a pinch-hit, 10th-inning double in his 1st plate appearance of the season on 6/7 at SF, then recorded a hit in each of his first 4 PA on 6/11 at MIN before drawing a walk in his 5th...Elias also notes that Leon became the 1st Red Sox to reach base via hit, BB, or HBP in each of his first 6 PA of a season since Ted Cox in 1977 (first 7). Began the season 20-for-40...According to Elias, became the first Red Sox with 20+ hits in his first 40 AB of a season since David Ortiz in 2013 (also 20-for-40), and the first major leaguer to do so since Adrian Gonzalez in 2015 (22-for-40). Went 4-for-5 with 3 2B on 7/4 vs. TEX...Was the first Red Sox catcher with 3+ doubles in a game since Jason Varitek on 5/12/02 at SEA (3). Went 25-for-55 (.455) in 19 games (13 starts) in the season's 1st half, the highest AVG ever for a player at the All-Star break (min. 50 AB)...Homered in 6 of his first 25 games after the All-Star break. Went 2-for-4 with a HR and 4 RBI in the Sox' 5-2 win at NYY on 7/16...Also had a HR and 4 RBI on 8/5 at LAD. Began the season with the PawSox...Made 29 starts at catcher, throwing out 9 of 17 (53%) attempted base stealers. POSTSEASON: Started each of the Red Sox' 3 ALDS games at catcher...Hit a solo HR in Game 1 at CLE, his first ever postseason game...Became the 1st Red Sox catcher ever to homer in his 1st career playoff game...Threw out 1 of 2 attempted base stealers in the series.
Made 33 starts at catcher in his 1st season with the Red Sox...BOS went 16-17 in his starts, including 11-8 beginning 6/2...Also appeared in 26 games with Triple-A Pawtucket. Named to 1st career Opening Day roster after being acquired from WSH for cash considerations on 3/30. Played in 33 ML games (28 starts) before being designated for assignment on 7/20...Cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A on 7/30...Selected back to the ML roster on 9/1 and made 8 more appearances (5 starts). Led the majors by throwing out 50% (10 of 20) of attempted base stealers (min. 20 SBA)...Posted a 3.47 catcher's ERA with BOS, 2nd best among AL catchers (min. 300.0 innings caught). Caught 4 of the team's 10 shutouts in only 33 starts...Caught all 13 innings of the Sox' 2-0 win on 9/13 at TB. Red Sox pitchers gave up only 9 runs in 47.0 innings in 5 starts during his second ML stint of the year (1.72 ERA)...Caught all 4 of Rich Hill's starts down the stretch (1.55 ERA). Entered the game on 4/12 at NYY as a defensive replacement at 3B in the 8th inning, his only appearance at a position other than catcher in the majors or minors. Following the season, posted a .338 OBP in 33 games for Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League...Also went 20-for-65 (.308) with a .416 OBP in 20 postseason games...Played in 6 games for Venezuela in the Caribbean Series, going 3-for-3 with a run scored and 2 CCS against Mexico in the finals on 2/7.
Appeared in 20 games (17 starts) over 4 stints with the Nationals (4/2-5/15, 6/11-25, 8/5-7, 9/1-end of season)...Spent most of the season with Triple-A Syracuse. Threw out 5 of 8 (63%) potential base stealers with WSH and caught 12 of 21 (57%) with Syracuse. Was set to begin the season with Double-A Harrisburg, but was summoned to WSH on 4/2 after Wilson Ramos injured his left hand on Opening Day...Hit .182 (8-for-44) in 13 games before being optioned to Syracuse on 5/16. Hit his 1st ML home run on 4/14 at MIA, a 2-run shot off RHP Kevin Slowey. Played in 46 games for Aguilas del Zulia of the Venezuelan Winter League.
Struggled at the plate (hit .177 in 95 games) with Harrisburg in first complete Double-A season...was recalled by the Nationals, Sept. 1..while in minors, posted nearly as many walks (47) as strikeouts (57)...walked once every 7.7 plate appearances...including 3-game rehab stint with (low) Single-A Auburn, threw out 27 of 70 (39%) would-be basestealers in '13....played in 2 Sept. contests for Washington, going 0-for-1 (K).
Switch-hitting catcher debuted in big leagues in '12 in 6th professional season...made MLB debut, May 14 vs. SDP, but suffered high right ankle sprain in 4th-inning home-plate collision with SDP's Chase Headley...endured 6-week stint on the DL, but in first game upon return, notched first big league hit, a 7th-inning single off (eventual Cy Young Award winner) R.A. Dickey, July 19 vs. NYM...on July 27 at MIL, gunned down Jonathan Lucroy to register first caught stealing of career...when starting, Washington went 7-2...combined to hit .322 with 19 doubles, 3 homers and 26 RBI in 64 minor-league games at 3 levels...experienced first big league Spring Training in '12.
In finest offensive season to date, posted 28 extra-base hits for Potomac, including career-best 21 doubles and 6 homers, in first Single-A CarolinaLeague exposure...also registered career highs in batting (.251), RBI (43) and games (109)...the 6 home runs were 50 percent more than total (4)amassed through first 4 pro campaigns...despite receiving 31 more plate appearances than the season prior, strikeouts shrunk by 10.
With Hagerstown of the Single-A South Atlantic League, hit .249, but tallied career-best 50 walks in 98 games en route to .345 on-base percentagethat established a career high.
Playing for both Hagerstown of the Single-A South Atlantic League and Vermont of the Short-season Single-A New York-Penn League, combined tobat .238 with 13 doubles and 2 home runs, which were first of professional career...following the season, was cited as the Best Defensive Catcher inthe Nationals chain by Baseball America...blasted first pro home run, a 7th-inning solo shot, on Aug. 23 at Tri City.
In repeat season in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, hit .189 but tallied 11 RBI in just 26 games with the GCL Nationals.
Showed strong pitch recognition and plate discipline (17 walks in 31 games/94 at-bats) in first pro season, which was spent with the GCL Nationals...in professional debut, June 19 vs. GCL Dodgers, walked twice and scored 2 runs.