JACK LEATHERSICH, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: July 14, 1990
Drafted: 5th Round, 162nd Overall, 2011 (Mets)
How Acquired: Waiver claim (from Cubs)
College: University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Agent: Orpheus Sports
WTM’S PLAYER PROFILE
|Leathersich is a lefty reliever who has a history of extremely high K rates but also significant control problems. He throws a low-90s fastball that reaches 94 and has a lot of movement, generating a lot of swings and misses. He also throws an inconsistent curve and, occasionally, a change. He’s been a reliever throughout his time in the minors. Leathersich has had some extreme reverse platoon splits at the AAA level, so he doesn’t appear to be a candidate to serve as a lefty specialist. He was out from mid-2015 until mid-2016 due to Tommy John surgery and spent the second half of 2016 working his way up through the minors on rehab. The Pirates claimed him from the Cubs off waivers in September 2017.
In a brief debut in the New York-Penn League, Leathersich was nearly unhittable, striking out 26 of the 47 batters he faced. Baseball America rated him the Mets’ 27th best prospect after the season.
The Mets sent Leathersich to low A, where he remained nearly unhittable, so they moved him up after a dozen relief appearances. He found high A more challenging, as the control issues started to emerge, but he maintained an extremely high K rate. BA ranked him 22nd in New York’s system after the season.
Leathersich continued along the same lines in AA, but the control problems became severe after a mid-season promotion to AAA. BA still ranked him 23rd in the Mets’ system.
The Mets sent Leathersich back to AA and he stayed there until early August. He got something of a handle on the walks and continued to put up an outlandish K rate, but he also got hit a little more. He spent most of August in AAA and struggled. The Mets nevertheless added him to their 40-man roster after the season.
Leathersich opened the season in AAA, but through late June spent a good portion of it with the Mets. His control problems weren’t as severe and he pitched better at the AAA level than his ERA indicates. At the major league level it was just the opposite. He ended up having Tommy John surgery in July. The Mets put him on waivers after the season. The Cubs claimed him, then removed him from their roster and signed him to a minor league deal.
Leathersich resumed pitching in late June and spent the rest of the season working his way back from the surgery. Maybe a little strangely, BA rated him the 27th best prospect in a good Cubs’ system after the season. The Cubs added him to their 40-man roster in November.
The Cubs optioned Leathersich to AAA and he pitched better than he generally had at that level. Control still remained a big issue, but he continued to strike batters out at an extremely high rate and opponents hit only .167 against him. He appeared in one game for the Cubs and it didn’t go well, as he walked four of the seven batters he faced. The Cubs designated him for assignment as part of a series of roster moves in September and the Pirates claimed him off waivers. They assigned Leathersich initially to Indianapolis. He appeared in three playoff games there, taking the loss in the game that eliminated Indy, then moved up to Pittsburgh. He pitched well, to the extent you can tell anything from six games and barely over four innings.
Leathersich was in the mix for a bullpen spot in 2018, but had a very rough spring, struggling to throw strikes, and was an early cut. He has an option left and so will serve as depth at Indianapolis.
|2018: Major league minimum|
|Signing Bonus: $110,000
MiLB Debut: 2011
MLB Debut: 4/29/2015
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2023
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2014
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2015, 2017)
MLB Service Time: 0.116
|June 7, 2011: Drafted by the New York Mets in the 5th round, 162nd overall pick; signed on June 26.
November 20, 2014: Contract purchased by the New York Mets.
November 19, 2015: Claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs from the New York Mets.
December 2, 2015: Non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs.
December 15, 2015: Signed by the Chicago Cubs as a minor league free agent.
November 18, 2016: Called up by the Chicago Cubs.
September 2, 2017: Designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs.
September 4, 2017: Claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Chicago Cubs.