If I can keep it up all month, 31 days of positive posts! There's going to be enough negativity going around with the Cardinals not in the post-season.
Happy birthday, Dominic Leone! (This was not planned in advance, so I feel very fortunate to have planned writing on Leone today.)
In 2018, league average wOBA was .315. Dominic Leone only faced 106 batters this year and only 72 of them put it in play. Despite batters hitting a robust .287 off of Leone this year, they slugged under .400 against him and were held to just a .304 wOBA. What's even better is that his batting average against was expected (xBA) to be just .259.
Leone also had his lowest percentage of batted balls being barrelled this year - at 5.6%. That is lower than the 6.1% league average as well.
While Leone's ERA was above league average at 4.50 in the 24 innings he got to throw with the big league club, his FIP and xFIP both believed he was a better pitcher than that, as they averaged a 3.70 estimated ERA. SIERA went even further and estimated Leone should have had a 3.57 ERA based on how he pitched.
Leone was successful in 5 of his 7 (71% success rate) save opportunities. While the Cardinals may not expect him to be a closer next year, as he had 0 saves but 2 blown saves (0%) and has just 1 career save to 10 blown saves (9%) , Leone was 5 for 5 (100%) this year when it was just a hold situation and has 24 holds in 26 opportunities (92%) that weren't the 9th inning in his career.
Going forward, a 7th or 8th inning role for a healthy Dominic Leone could be quite beneficial for the St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen. My favorite reason for wanting him there is this. MLB relievers have averaged around a 17.3% swinging strike rate in Leone's seasons in the majors. Leone has averaged 22.6% in his career and with the Cardinals this past year was at 24.3% when he was with the big league club. That's almost 1 in 4 swings misses completely. LOVE IT.
Positive October Day 26, in the books!
In case you missed them: