After getting called up to the big leagues in June of 2016, Sandy Leon slashed .310/.369/.845 for the Red Sox the rest of the way, and came into this past season with decent expectations. But the veteran catcher was unable to come close to last year's promise, as he hit .225 with an OPS of .644 in 85 games. His power numbers were nearly identical, but Christian Vazquez eventually emerged as the preferred backstop for Boston, with Leon barely making an impact over the final couple months. Some positives for Leon: his ability to hit from both sides of the plate and draw walks at a useful clip (8.3 percent last season). Unfortunately, those skills are not enough to make Leon a worthwhile target, even in two-catcher mixed leagues. He could be out of a job entirely if the Red Sox upgrade behind the plate at any point in 2018.
Leon agreed to a one-year, $1.95 million deal with the Red Sox on Friday to avoid arbitration, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports. This was the second offseason of arbitration eligibility for Leon, who will receive a $650,000 bump in salary from last year. In 2017, the catcher hit just .225/.290/.354 with seven home runs and 39 RBI in 85 games after having a breakout campaign the previous season. He will serve in a reserve role behind Christian Vazquez during this upcoming season, but his ability to hit from either side of the plate will keep him relevant within Boston's lineup.
Leon is starting at catcher and batting eighth in Sunday's ALDS Game 3 against the Astros, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. Leon was positioned on the bench for Friday's Game 2, but he'll be slotted back into the starting lineup as the Red Sox square off against Brad Peacock and the Astros in their potential elimination game. The veteran backstop went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his Game 1 start.
Leon is in the lineup against the Astros for Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. Leon will handle the catching duties for Thursday's series opener with right-hander Justin Verlander taking the hill for Houston. Since Aug. 24, Leon is hitting just .161 with one home run and four RBI in 17 starts.
Leon was added to the lineup for Friday's game against the Astros, Tim Britton of The Providence Journal reports. Christian Vazquez was originally slated to start behind the plate Friday, but he was scratched for an unspecified reason, and Leon will enter the lineup in his place. Leon will hit eighth in Boston's batting order against Charlie Morton.
Leon will start at catcher and bat ninth Sunday against the Orioles, Evan Drellich of CSN New England reports. Leon will start for the sixth time in nine games, but that shouldn't be taken as evidence that he's usurped Christian Vazquez as the Red Sox's primary catching option. Manager John Farrell has gone with a timeshare behind the plate all season, with the distribution of starts often difficult to predict week to week. Leon is at least providing value for those in AL-only formats or deeper mixed two-catcher formats for those that have kept him active of late, driving in seven runs over his last seven starts.
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