Perhaps today's subject, Brent Leach, may not have quite that much timing but during the 2006 season he picked on a phenomenal 22 runners, leading the entire minor league in that obscure statistic that is listed on box scores as "caught stealing."
Hit pitching coach at Vero Beach that year, Glenn Dishman, quipped, "When a tough hitter is coming up late in the game, we'll put Leach in to walk him, then pick him off."
The 2007 numbers show that Leach's reputation proceeded him and runners were duly wary. Although Leach's season was truncated to only 14 games due to an injury, he still nailed four runners wandering off the base.
Leach, who started his first year, made the conversion to the bullpen in his second, began began the 2007 season as a stopper for Inland Empire. He picked up a quick four saves but a torn muscle in his side put him out for the year.
However, before he did, he has recorded a miniscule 0.45 earned run average over 14 games and 20 innings with 23 strikeouts.
This lefthander throws a fast ball in the low 90's and his slurve has a wicked late break that tends to baffle batters. He's a player that has been attracting favorable notices ever since he came on the scene.
He's already has had Tommy John during his early college days at Southern Mississippi. After the operation he sat out a year, then transferred to Delta State where he was very effective in relief.
He was also a draft-eligible sophomore so his coach tried to keep him around for at least one more year by telling scouts he was a bit of a discipline problem. That wasn't at all true so the Dodgers drafted him in the sixth round in 2005 just ahead of the Pirates, who were also planning to take him.
He started at Ogden and lead the Pioneer League in ERA with a 2.43 mark. He was also in the rotation at Columbus in 2006 and with a 4-2, 3.27 record he was brought up to Vero and switched him back to the bullpen.
Leach suffers from a rare affliction that causes his palms to sweat excessively. For the ordinary person, this might be only an annoyance but for a pitchers it can be a serious dilemma for the ball was slipping out his hand when he fired it toward the plate. However, a medication has seemed to get the matter under control.
He has a fast ball that generally stays in the 88-92 mph range and has been perfecting his secondary pitches.
Coupled with a deceptive delivery that batters find tough to pick up (he held them to a .230 average while striking out 77 in 66.2 innings at Columbus and although his hand problem cut back his numbers at Vero Beach, overall he fanned 124 in 101.2 innings.
He was even harder to hit at Inland Empire in 2007, allowing only a .203 average while allowing but 14 hits over 20 innings.
Due to his short season last year, he may start at Vero Beach but is a good bet to be in Jacksonville before the season ends.
Brent Leach bl tl 6-2 230 Born- November 18, 1982 Obtained- Selected in the sixth round of the 2005 draft year team w-l era gm gs sv in h bb so ave 2005 Ogden 5-3 2.43 14 13 0 66.2 53 29 77 .227 2006 Colm 4-2 3.27 10 10 0 52.1 41 31 67 .230 VBeach 3-4 4.36 30 0 1 49.1 48 32 57 .265 2007 IEmp 0-0 0.45 14 0 4 20.0 14 11 23 .203