Player Name: Jack Leathersich
Bats: R Throws: L
Height: 5’11” Weight: 205 lb.
Position: Relief Pitcher
Age: 22 (turns 23 in July)
MMO Top Prospect Ranking #16
Here is what MMO had to say about Leathersich from their recent Top 25 Prospect list:
Jack “Leather Rocket” Leathersich is quite the interesting case. He was our 5th round pick in the 2011 draft and went on to dominate Brooklyn in his professional debut as a reliever. In 2012, he started the year in Savannah and was on cruise control before he was promoted to St.Lucie. He ran into his first real trouble there, where he posted an ERA of 4.12 in 48 innings compared to his microscopic 0.75 ERA in Savannah in 24 innings. He also showed a little bit less control once he was promoted, with his BB/9 increasing from 3.0 to 4.5. However, those numbers do not tell the whole story as even in St. Lucie, opposing hitters only hit Leathersich at a .224 clip and he allowed only three home runs all year. Did I forget to mention that he struck out a gaudy 113 hitters in 72 innings?
Leathersich has a nice athletic build and profiles as a relief pitcher which should help him move through the Mets system rather quickly. He brings a low-90s fastball in his arsenal which has nice movement (moves in on left-handed hitters, and away from right-handed hitters). He has a plus slider and his curve is a slower bender.
Leathersich has an amazing strikeout ratio as mentioned above. He mowed down 113 hitters in 72 innings pitched last season. That should be music to Mets fans ears to hear a reliever striking out hitters at that rate.
He ran into some issues with his command and control after being promoted in 2012. After watching the attached video (granted it is a very small sample), the first thing I noticed about Leathersich was his tendency to fall off towards third base during his follow-through. On the pitches where he doesn’t fall off towards third base, he has much better control and is around the strike zone. One of the most common mistakes pitchers can make in their delivery is falling off to the side (for righties they fall towards first base, for lefties it’s third base). Leathersich should work this spring on keeping his body moving forward which will not only improve his accuracy but also his velocity.
This video of Cliff Lee shows the proper pitching mechanics and follow-through which Leathersich should work on in order to keep rising through the system and getting to Citi Field as fast as possible. Notice in the video how Lee falls towards home plate, and not towards third base.
Once Leathersich works out the kinks, he has a very bright future with the Mets. Falling off toward third base is a rather easy fix, and there are many drills the Mets pitching coaches can do with Leathersich to improve this area. Once he adjusts his follow-through, there is little doubt in my mind that he will have much better command, and continue to dominate hitters while building on that impressive strikeout ratio.
Left-handed pitching prospects are hard to come by, and as of right now, Leathersich is the Mets top southpaw. He will most likely start 2013 in Double-A Binghamton, and we look forward to seeing this incredible talent grow and hopefully join the Mets very soon.
This past Wednesday, during a Q&A with Mets season ticket holders at Citi Field, J.P. Ricciardi commented when asked if there were any prospects that he was excited about headed into 2013. Ricciardi responded:
I think he’s one of the guys who could get a taste of the big leagues at some point this year. It’s nice to have a left-hander with a strikeout-ability.
I think it’s very promising that out of all the exciting prospects Ricciardi could have mentioned—like Travis d’Arnaud, Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, or Wilmer Flores—Leathersich was the name he threw to the Mets fans, the way a zookeeper throws a piece of meat into the lion’s den. Left-handed relievers with a strikeout ratio like Leathersich has had are definitely mouth watering propsects, but he still has to get his control and command back under control this season before he’s throwing off a mound in Citi Field.
With that being said, there is no doubt that he could make his debut sometime in 2013, but he has to take care of business in Binghamton first. The road to the show is usually much quicker for relief pitchers since less development is needed, but his first step in making his debut in 2013 would be dominating at Double-A. After that, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make a very short visit to Triple-A Las Vegas, or make the jump directly to the show. The ball sounds like it is pretty much in Leathersich’s court. If he dominates Double-A, he will be rewarded with a trip to the city that never sleeps in 2013.