The change was LeBlanc’s most used pitch in 2019 (31%) despite being used almost exclusively vs RHB (95%). Located most often down or away (or both), LeBlanc only has it in the zone 25% of the time, though with above average drop and decent fade, he gets a good number of chases (43.9% O-Swing) and swinging strikes (15.9%).
LeBlanc’s only breaking offering, the curve was used about 11% of the time. LeBlanc frequently employs it back-door at the bottom of the zone (43.7% Zone) but also gets middling chase (34.5%) and SwStr rates (11.7%). It shows slow (72.5 mph) sweeping action with above average horizontal break and average drop.
The 35 year-old LeBlanc has basically phased out the fourseamer at this point in his career (4.7%) as his movement and velocity (86.3 mph) have faded over time, gradually replacing it in his repertoire with a sinker (23%). The sinker is still a softer version than most in the league (86.1 mph) but shows slightly above average armside run to go with average drop. Leblanc has never been a big K guy and the results with the fastballs both speak to that, with a total 3% SwStr and both also proved hittable with a .415 and .388 wOBA allowed respectively.
Despite below-average velocity (84 mph), LeBlanc went to his cutter 30.4% of the time in 2019 and it was less than dominant, allowing hitters a .831 OPS. Though hit hard when in play (.500 slugging), it demonstrates more rising action and less cut than most cutters in the league and generated a 7.9% SwStr, showing itself as his most effective K pitch with 40 strikeouts and a 19.3% K rate when used with 2 strikes.
LeBlanc threw his changeup more than any other pitch last year. It features a fair amount of drop and little fade, but it still managed to miss bats at an above-average clip (47.3% O-swing rate and 14.9% swinging-strike rate). LeBlanc’s surprisingly effective season was due in large part to the success of this pitch—success he will have to find again if he wants to have any fantasy relevance in 2019.
LeBlanc’s two-seamer didn’t fool anyone last season, and at 86.5 miles per hour, it’s amazing it missed any bats at all. His -7.2 pVal, 4.5% swinging-strike rate and 20.0% HR/FB rate tell pretty much the whole story. This pitch was bad.
LeBlanc doesn’t have a traditional slider, but his low-80s cutter functions like one, with nearly five inches of horizontal movement. It was far and away his best pitch last season, with an 11.8 pVal despite a low swinging-strike rate (8.8%). Instead, LeBlanc relied on soft contact, which forced opponents into a 34.7% infield fly rate and a .195 average against.
LeBlanc relies on his three fastballs and his changeup more than his curveball. This pitch underwent a big change last season, as it gained over three inches of movement from years past. It helped a little, with a 10.5% swinging-strike rate, which was the second-highest mark of his career. The pitch got whacked when contact was made, however, leading to a 15.4% HR/FB rate and a 0.1 pVal.
With a two-seamer and a cutter at his disposal, LeBlanc’s straight four-seamer was used almost exclusively as a “get it over” pitch when he was down in the count. It was effective in that role, with a 56.2% zone rate and a low 29.5% swing rate—meaning batters were generally taking it for a strike. Expect this pitch to serve a similar role for the veteran left-hander next season.