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The Arbitration File: Sam LeCure

Sam LeCure contributed mightily in 2013.

For the first time, Reds reliever Sam LeCure is eligible for arbitration. Couldn’t have picked a better time. Same has shown time and time again how versatile a pitcher he is. While we will most likely never see him as a starter again, who knows in what role he holds as far as the Reds 2014 bullpen.

That said, 2013 was a trial for Sam LeCure. At the beginning of the season, LeCure was used as needed by former skipper Dusty Baker. Then the injuries started to amass. The absences of Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton necessitated a role change. LeCure was used more as a 7th or 8th inning guy.

And that could result in LeCure practically doubling his 2014 salary. Well, if MLB Trade Rumors is on the nose with it’s projection of $1MM, LeCure would collect $490K more than the $510K he received for his 2013 work.

If Marshall and Broxton return and are healthy, LeCure will likely return to his “you never know when he’ll enter the game” role.

In 2013, LeCure posted his highest ERA+ ever (145), bWAR (1.5) and strand rate (82.1%). Also on the positive, Sam saw opponents contact rate dip to a career low of 74.2%. Not to mention a career low ERA of 2.66 and xFIP of 3.32. Lest we forget, there’s also the matter of posting career highs in SO/9 (9.74) and SO% (26.3%).

Now did anyone ever believe LeCure could have a SO/9 over 9? LeCure doesn’t possess a blazing fastball. We’re talking about 90MPH here.

And LeCure was effective in pressure situations.

RISP: .158 (61 PA)
2 outs, RISP: .125 (28 PA)
Men on: .198 (109 PA)
Bases loaded: .000 (6 PA)

Yes, that last one is only 6 PAs, but LeCure’s kind of thrived in that situation over his four-year career (.103 BAA on 32 PA with 10 SO).

If there is a negative trend, it might be his groundball rate. In 2013, that percentage was a career low 43.0%. Look at the entire picture though. 2012 produced a career high GB% of 47.6%. There’s also the H/9 that has slightly risen from 2011-2013.

2011: 6.6
2012: 7.2
2013: 7.4

Nothing that raises a red flag.

So is LeCure worth a $500M-ish raise? I think we all know the answer to that.

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