Just when the New York Mets’ bullpen is finally starting to put it together, another potential reliever is stating his case to become a part of the Mets’ bullpen at some point this season in left-handed pitching prospect Jack Leathersich. There were rumblings going back to last season that Leathersich might have a chance to reach the big leagues, but a rough stretch in triple-A took away any chance of that happening. But recently Leathersich has started to put it all together and look like someone who has a chance to help the Mets out of the bullpen before the end of the 2014 season.
Throughout his minor league career, Leathersich has had a high strikeout rate, striking out 113 in 72 innings during the 2012 season and striking out 102 in 58.1 innings in 2013. But he’s also had control issues, leading to a high walk rate that finally caught up with him when he was promoted to triple-A last season. During the first half of the 2013 season in double-A, Leathersich had a 1.53 ERA, but during the second half in triple-A, his ERA was 7.76.
After those struggles in triple-A, Leathersich was sent back to double-A at the start of the 2014 season. After a mediocre start to the season, Leathersich has started to get his act together and improve upon the control issues that have plagued his career. In his last six appearances, Leathersich has thrown 8.2 innings and walked just two batters while striking out 16. It’s a small sample size, but it’s a vast improvement over the pitcher he’s been over the past couple of seasons.
If he can continue to pitch without walking batters, Leathersich will certainly be on the radar for a big league promotion at some point this season. The Mets don’t have the most trustworthy lefties in their bullpen in Scott Rice and Josh Edgin, so that’s a position where they could need help later in the season. Unless Sandy Alderson can pull off a trade, the Mets don’t have many internal options for lefty relievers, giving Leathersich a great chance to earn a shot in the big leagues if he can continue to stay away from the control problems that have plagued his career.