Dodger Prospect #33 - LHP Brent Leach

Latest in a series on top Dodger prospects as we count down to the very best. While Bill Shelley is on medical leave, take a look at Prospect #33, LHP Brent Leach. [ed. note: A number of readers have pointed out we overlooked #32 Brent Leach. We apologize to both Brent and our subscribers].

in 1936, Frenchy Bordagary, who played outfield and a little infield for Casey Stengel in Brooklyn, reached second base on a double in the eighth inning of a game with the Giants. While he was standing on the base, the pitcher wheeled and threw to second, the tag was made and Bordagary was called out. Stengel rushed onto the field to protest the call. "He was standing on the base," he screamed at the second base umpire. Before the umpire could reply, Bordagary stepped in front of Stengel and said, "Casey, I was out. I was standing there tapping my foot on the base and he got me between taps."

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.

His record:
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