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The season that was: Dominic Leone

Looking at Dominic Leone’s 2017 season

Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Blue Jays claimed Dominic Leone (and Leonel Campos) off waivers a year ago tomorrow.

We were less than thrilled, but Dominic had a good rookie season, back in 2014, putting up a 2.17 ERA in 66.1 innings, for the Mariners. That was followed by a couple of bad seasons.

He was kind of interesting, he could throw a 94 mph fastball. We figured he would spend most of the season in Buffalo. We ran this poll:

Well, he beat 20 innings by a good bit:

2017    25 3 0 2.56 65  0  1 70.1 51 20  6 23 81  8  180 2.94 1.052 10.4

Baseball Reference had him at a 2.2 WAR. FanGraphs had him at a 1.5 WAR, giving him a value of $12.2 million to the Jays. That’s a pretty good return for a waiver pickup.

Dominic had 4 blown saves, 11 holds (all of them coming in the second half of the seasons) and 1 save.

He had a 2.94 FIP and a 3.68 xFIP.

He had a 29.0% strikeout rate and a 8.2% walk rate.

Dominic gave up line drives at a 17.8% rate, ground balls 40.2% and fly balls 42.0%. 8.2% of his fly balls left the park. He had a hard contact rate of 31.0%.

Left-handers (.183/.261/.366) and right-handers (.211/.267/.357) hit him about the same. That’s a switch from his career numbers. Before the season I said he should be limited to facing right-handers. Before this year, lefties hit him hard, .300/.399/.476.

His home (2.79 ERA, batters hit .203/.248/.378) and road (2.27, .200/.286/.336) splits were pretty even.

He was a little better in the second half (2.05, .205/.239/.348) than in the first half (2.95, .199/.284/.369).

Leone by month:

  • April: 4.76, .250/.300/.523 in 11.1 innings.
  • May: 3.38, .196/.283/.348 in 13.1 innings.
  • June: 1.38, .156/.240/.267 in 13.0 innings.
  • July: 0.96, .133/.235/.233 in 9.1 innings.
  • August: 2.35, .237/.262/.392 in 15.1 innings.
  • September: 2.25, .207/.258/.345 in 8 innings.

Occasionally, a wavier pickup pays off.

As Matt W noted, back in October, Dominic qualifies as a ‘Super Two’, so he’s arbitration eligible this winter. So, he come be quite cheap as he would have, if he hadn’t made it to the Super Two cut off.

He’s just 26 and he’s had 2 very good good MLB seasons and 2 not so good ones. So this coming season could be good or not, maybe not so good.

He was a very pleasant surprise, in a season that didn’t have much for pleasant surprises for Blue Jays fans. I’d think that, this season, he won’t be fighting for a spot on the roster, but he’ll have to prove that he can do this two years in a row.

I’d imagine the Jays would like to add another arm to the pen, but, presuming Dominic can be as good again, we have the making of a decent pen, at least from the right side. We could use a lefty, but that’s an issue for a another post.