The ever on-the-cusp Leong threw in yet another almost there season. Making 30 starts, Leong switched back and forth between brilliance and abysmality – he made nine starts with 1 run or less, third most behind Yan and Zhao, yet ended up with the highest ERA of the five main starters and the highest WHIP of anyone on the entire team. Despite this, Leong continued to flash great potential – he struck out 227 batters, good for #12 in the league and #6 in the UL. In addition, his 11.1 K’s per 9 innings was second most in the league, only behind Yan. Leong’s Achilles Heel still seems to be his control – while his opponent’s AVG and SLG numbers seem to be a good .217 AVG and .392 SLG, his OBP was a high .324, especially considering his low initial AVG. He gave up 87 walks in only 183 2/3 innings, in addition to hitting 23 batters to lead the Universal League, although his 4.26 walks per 9 innings mark is dramatically improved from his 6.69 mark when he was a starter two years ago. With the starter’s pool getting crowded, with Zhao emerging as a dominant ace and rookies Wade and Chin proving their worth, and possibly a young Vong waiting in the wings, Leong’s hold on the #2 starter position, and even a guaranteed spot in the rotation, seems uncertain, as he’s currently the worst starter on the team.
Statistics - Pitching
2006 was a year of big changes and great anticipation for Leong. The inconsistent starter-turned-closer-turned-starter, after a tumultuous 2005 season wracked with nail-biting starts, took to the bullpen once again, where he pitched in an even more nail-biting 2004 season as the team’s closer. Two seasons ago, Leong put up a 3.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP in 58 1/3 innings while saving 40 games, and the Montis hoped that another two years of experience and maturity would help him gain more consistency, or at least improve upon the mediocre 5 blown saves rookie Zubeda Khan had in 2005. Still, since the inception of the team in 2003, Leong had been hands-down the most inconsistent pitcher on the staff, and mixing that in with high-stakes save situations was treading a fine line between brilliance or disaster. The result was just that – a mix of brilliance and disaster, and perhaps the most mercurial performance by any pitcher, anywhere, to date. A workhorse of the staff, Leong threw 71 innings, by far the most of any reliever this year, and second to Sarah Jimenez’s 90 innings in 2003. Leong even managed career bests in ERA (3.68), WHIP (1.14), and CERA (3.04), not to mention K/9 (12.8). Leong started the year leerily, with a near-disastrous first four appearances in which he earned 1 save, blew three, and won 2 and lost 1 of the games he blew. His ERA was at 8.10, his WHIP at 1.95, and things were looking to go downhill, fast. From there, Leong somehow caught fire, going on an incredible April-July stretch run spanning 35 1/3 innings in which he put together an 0.51 ERA
Statistics - Pitching