Wade Matthew LeBlanc
Height: 6'3" Weight: 205
Bats/Throws: Left / Left
Born: 08/07/1984 in Lake Charles, Louisiana
College: University of Alabama
Acquired: Signed as a free agent (03/23/2018)
MLB Debut: 09/03/2008
Free Agent after: 2019 season
Signed to fill a perceived hole in the bullpen after David Phelps was lost for the year to Tommy John surgery, LeBlanc made only five middling appearances in relief before he was slotted into the starting rotation when Erasmo Ramírez hit the DL in April. And, boy did he deliver as a starter. From his first start on May 3rd through the end of that month, LeBlanc posted a 1.72 ERA. June wasn't quite so impressive for him, thanks mostly to a wild game in Boston that saw him give up six runs in 42⁄3 innings, but it also included a brilliant effort against those same Red Sox in a game the M's eventually won 1-0. Things have evened out a bit since; though he has been torched a couple of times this year—that game in Boston and one on August 1st in Houston when the Astros got to him for seven earned runs in 41⁄3—he can generally be counted on to give five or six quality innings and keep the M's in the game.
A southpaw more in the mold of Jamie Moyer and John Tudor than Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton, LeBlanc relies on changing speeds and precision location rather than raw velocity. His fastball tops out in the high 80s, but by mixing in four or five other pitches and hitting the corners with most of them he gets the job done.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, his numbers are better at home than on the road; though Safeco Field is not the pitcher's paradise some in the media would have you believe, its fair dimensions and Seattle's marine air are friendlier to fly-ball pitchers than a number of other AL parks. Through August 15th, LeBlanc was 6-1 with a 3.50 ERA at home and 1-1, 4.13 on the road.
The Mariners have rewarded "Frenchy" for his success with a contract extension that will keep him in Seattle through 2019 for sure and has three option years following that will vest with 160 innings pitched the previous season.