As the regular season gets ever closer and teams are making tough decisions on who to keep on their 25-man rosters, the Los Angeles Angels made the right decision to option pitcher Wade LeBlanc to their minor-league system
The left-hander was dominant in spring training as he has threw 5.1 scoreless innings with just four hits allowed in three appearances. In his six years in the majors, LeBlanc has struggled to find any consistency on the mound. His career ERA is 4.51 with three different teams over that span.
LeBlanc spent the first four years of his career with the San Diego Padres before being traded to the Miami Marlins in November of 2011. His time with the Marlins would last a season and half before he was waived last June by the team due to his poor performance with a 5.18 ERA in 13 appearances that included seven starts.
He would get another shot as the Houston Astros picked him up off waivers, but he struggled once again with a 7.11 ERA in 6.1 innings pitched in four games for the team. The Astros then sent him down to the minors as he made appearances 19 games with seven starts as a member of the Oklahoma City RedHawks where he went 3-1 with a 4.71 ERA.
In his three appearances this spring training, it appeared he had left his pitching problems behind him as he pitched lights out baseball. Granted it is in limited action, but he has still shown in few innings of work that he can help a major league team. However, it is hard to truly judge his performance this spring training by the small size. So with the Halos sending him down to minors, it will give the team a better gauge on the right-hander to see if his solid spring training was him improving as a pitcher or if it was a mirage.
It is no secret that the Angels are looking for pitching help for this upcoming season, and that does not necessarily take LeBlanc out of Los Angeles’ plans for 2014. He could perform well enough to earn a call-up at some point in the year. It would not be a surprise to the see the left-hander at the major league level again if he can once again prove to be an effective pitcher.
LeBlanc should not take the demotion to the minors as a letdown, but rather as a chance to prove he can be a part of a major league pitching staff. If he is able to once again flash any sort of promise in the minors, don’t think for one second that the Angels or another team will not be interested in having him on their major league roster.