Leone with the Seattle Mariners in 2014
|St. Louis Cardinals – No. 55|
Born: October 26, 1991|
|April 6, 2014, for the Seattle Mariners|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2018 season)
|Earned run average||3.60|
Dominic Joseph Leone (born October 26, 1991) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut for the Seattle Mariners, and has also played for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Toronto Blue Jays. Prior to playing professionally, Leone played college baseball for the Clemson Tigers.
High school and college
Leone attended Norwich Free Academy in Norwich, Connecticut, where he played for the school's baseball team. Undrafted out of high school, he then enrolled at Clemson University, where he pitched for the Clemson Tigers baseball team.
As a true freshman, the Tigers turned to Leone in a game where they faced postseason elimination; Leone won the game, which sent the team to the 2010 College World Series. A strained shoulder in his sophomore year led him to develop his off-speed pitches. In his junior year, he had a 7–4 win–loss record and a 5.25 earned run average (ERA). While strugging in his junior year, Leone taught himself to throw a cutter by watching YouTube videos of Mariano Rivera.
The Seattle Mariners selected Leone in the 16th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft, and he received a $100,000 signing bonus when he signed with the team. The Mariners assigned him to the Short Season-A Everett AquaSox, where he made 19 appearances and posted a 3–0 record, 1.36 ERA, 39 strikeouts in 33 total innings. In 2013, Leone began the season with the Class-A Clinton LumberKings. After pitching 6 1⁄3 scoreless innings for Clinton, the Mariners promoted Leone to the Advanced-A High Desert Mavericks of the California League, and served as their closer. In July, Leone was promoted to the Double-A Jackson Generals, where he ended the 2013 season. In 48 combined appearances across three minor league levels, Leone posted a 1–3 record, 2.25 ERA, and 64 strikeouts in 64 innings. In the offseason, he made 11 relief appearances for the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League, and recorded a 3.00 ERA and 15 strikeouts.
On April 4, 2014, the Mariners selected Leone's contract from the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League, promoting him to the major leagues. He remained with the Mariners for the entire 2014 season, making 57 relief appearances and posting an 8–2 record, 2.17 ERA, and 70 strikeouts in 661⁄3 innings.
During spring training in 2015, Leone struggled with his command, and the Mariners assigned him to Triple-A Tacoma. When the Mariners placed Tom Wilhelmsen on the disabled list in early April, they promoted Leone. Leone made 10 appearances with the Mariners in 2015, posting a 6.35 ERA and nine walks in 111⁄3 innings. In the minors, he put up a 1–1 record, 7.71 ERA, and eight strikeouts in 91⁄3.
On June 3, 2015, Leone, along with Welington Castillo, Gabby Guerrero, and Jack Reinheimer, was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Mark Trumbo and Vidal Nuño. Leone made three appearances for the Diamondbacks in 2015, and went 0–1 with a 14.73 ERA in 32⁄3 innings. With the Double-A Mobile BayBears, Leone made 19 appearances and pitched to a 1–2 record, 3.90 ERA, and 28 strikeouts in 272⁄3 innings. Leone was ejected by Vic Carapazza in a game against the Miami Marlins for hitting Christian Yelich with a pitch in retaliation to Jose Fernandez hitting David Peralta earlier that game. In 2016, Leone split time between the Diamondbacks and the Triple-A Reno Aces. With Arizona he posted a 0–1 record, 6.33 ERA, and 23 strikeouts in 27 total innings. With Reno, Leone went 5–2 in 33 relief appearances, and recorded a 3.34 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 35 innings. In November 2016, Leone was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks.
Toronto Blue Jays
On November 18, 2016, Leone was claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays. Though initially sent by the Jays to the minor league camp late in spring training, Leone was recalled on April 2 to start the 2017 season with the major league club, taking the roster spot of the injured closer Roberto Osuna. He was optioned to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons on May 30 but was recalled again on June 6. Leone was placed on the bereavement list for undisclosed reasons on August 13, and activated on August 16. On September 11, Leone earned his first major league save when he pitched a scoreless 9th inning in a 4–3 victory against the Baltimore Orioles. Leone would finish his first season as a Blue Jay appearing in 65 games, posting a 2.56 ERA, and striking out 81 batters over 701⁄3 innings.
St. Louis Cardinals
On January 19, 2018, the Blue Jays traded Leone and Conner Greene to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Randal Grichuk. On May 9, he was placed on the 10-day disabled list with nerve damage in his right arm, and on May 30, he was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. In 13 innings pitched prior to his injury, he compiled a 4.15 ERA with 15 strikeouts. He was activated from the disabled list on August 26. Leone finished his first season in St. Louis with a 1-2 record and a 4.50 ERA in 29 relief appearances.
- "H.S. Sports: Leone tops list of local signings". norwichbulletin.com. November 14, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- Sawchik, Travis (May 19, 2011). "Clemson has emerging ace in Leone". thetandd.com. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- "Dominic Leone emerging as ace for surging Clemson". GoUpstate.com. May 18, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- Sawchik, Travis (June 6, 2012). "Clemson commit, Sims, signs with Atlanta Braves for $1.65 million". postandcourier.com. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- Sawchik, Travis (May 11, 2012). "Clemsons Leone turns to cut fastball". postandcourier.com. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- "Dominic Leone Register Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- "Seattle Mariners' Dominic Leone fearless for High Desert Mavericks – MiLB.com News – The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
- "Mariners call up pitching prospect Dominic Leone". usatoday.com. April 4, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- "Dominic Leone Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- Divish, Ryan (June 2, 2015). "Dominic Leone bounces back with two shutout innings". seattletimes.com. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- Hunt, Steve (May 3, 2015). "Former Tigers Dominic Leone, Brad Miller enjoying reunion in Seattle". Greenville News. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- Magruder, Jack (June 3, 2015). "D-backs trade Trumbo to Seattle for catcher, reliever, 2 prospects". foxsports.com. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- Gilbert, Steve (November 18, 2016). "D-backs protect 6 prospects from Rule 5". MLB.com. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- Todd, Jeff (November 18, 2016). "Blue Jays Claim Dominic Leone; Josh Thole Elects Free Agency". mlbtraderumors.com. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
- Zwolinski, Mark (March 29, 2017). "Reliever Dominic Leone will have to wait to help Blue Jays' bullpen". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
- Armstrong, Laura (April 2, 2017). "Blue Jays put closer Roberto Osuna on disabled list". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
- "Dominic Leone demoted by Blue Jays to make room for J.A. Happ". Toronto Sun. May 31, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "Blue Jays place Devon Travis on disabled list". sportsnet.ca. June 6, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "Blue Jays' Dominic Leone: Hits bereavement list". cbssports.com. August 13, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
- "Blue Jays designate J.P. Howell, Mike Ohlman for assignment". Sportsnet. August 16, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
- "Blue Jays' Dominic Leone: Earns first career save Monday". cbssports.com. September 11, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Chisholm, Gregor (January 12, 2018). "Toronto, Donaldson agree on record $23M deal". MLB.com. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
- Hummel, Rick (January 19, 2018). "Cardinals trade Grichuk to Toronto for two young pitchers". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved January 19, 2018.