Red Sox: Sandy Leon undervalued in preseason rankings
Let’s try to look at this from an outside perspective. For one thing, Leon essentially played only half a season, so the sample size is smaller than it is for the other catchers that are ranked ahead of him.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports Group
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
Leon stole the starting catcher job away with a scorching month of June, hitting a ridiculous .467 with a 1.243 OPS in 12 games that month. Needless to say, there was nowhere to go but down from there. Naturally, Leon regressed in each month after that, but he was still producing in August when he hit .306 with an .893 OPS in 25 games.
After that, Leon fell off a cliff, hitting a pitiful .213 with a .539 OPS in September/October to wrap up the regular season. He was basically a non-factor in the postseason, managing only one hit in 10 at-bats while Boston was swept by the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS. Had the magic worn off? Was Leon reverting back to the player he was before?
A more reasonable explanation may be that Leon crumbled down the stretch after enduring a heavier workload than he ever had before. He only appeared in 78 games for the Red Sox, but that basically doubles the number of games he played at the major league level over his previous four seasons. He also appeared in 36 games for Triple-A Pawtucket last year before getting the call back to Boston, bringing his total to 114 games, which is more than he ever played in a single season before. Leon appeared in 65 of Boston’s final 82 games, a heavy workload for a catcher that takes a beating behind the plate.