Prospect #15 - LHP Brent Leach

A fact of live for professional pitchers is the possibility of injuring their pitching arm. With modern procedures they usually survive it very well and often are stronger afterwards. Brent Leach, our prospect #15, jumped ahead of the curve by undergoing Tommy John surgery in college. He since has forged a strong minor league record.

6-2 230 BL TL
Born- November 18, 1982 in Flowood, Mississippi
Obtained- Selected in the sixth round of the 2005 draft

After sitting out the 2004 season at Southern Miss due to arm injury, in 2005 he transferred to Delta State and pitched the Statesmen to the Division II College World Seres. In 24 games over 31.0 innings, the went 1-1 with seven saves. He allowed only eight runs all season, six earned, with 56 strikeouts in 31 innings (1.72 ERA)

He was then drafted by Los Angeles in the sixth round of the 2005 draft and made 14 appearances (13 starts) in his first professional season with Rookie-League Ogden. He was 5-3 and led the Pioneer League with a 2.43 ERA, as well as finishing third with 77 strikeouts in 66.2 innings.

During the 2006 season, Leach opened the year with Class A Columbus, going 4-2 with a 3.27 ERA in 10 starts. On May 30 of that year, he was promoted to Class A-Advanced Vero Beach, where he would go 3-4 with 4.56 ERA in 30 appearances. He made 40 appearances -- only 10 of them as a starter.

Splitting time between the two clubs, he picked off a phenomenal 22 runners, leading the entire minor league in that obscure statistic. His 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."

   In 2007, Leach started the year with the Inland Empire 66ers. In 14 appearances, he recorded four saves, and a miniscule 0.45 ERA. In 20.0 innings, he allowed 14 hits and one earned run. His reputation proceeded him and runners didn't stray far from first base. Although Leach's season was truncated to only 14 games due to an injury, he still nailed four runners wandering off the base.

Last season, he pitched briefly for the Inland Empire 66ers (0-1, 1.85 ERA, three saves) before being promoted to the Class AA Jacksonville Suns. In 40 games with the Suns, Leach sparkled as one of Class AA's top young closers. In 59.2 innings, Leach posted 12 saves with a 2.88 ERA and a 2-2 record. He struck out 49 and allowed opposing batters just a .215 average. 

The Dodgers placed Leach with the Surprise Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, and in 10 games, he pitched 15.1 innings of relief. On October 23, he was named one of th AFL's Rising Stars. Three weeks later, Leach was placed on the 40-man roster by the parent club.   

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 professional scene.

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 opponents to a .239 at Inland Empire and a .215 average while pitching for Jacksonville.

Had he not been injured in 2007, he might have been in line for a shot at the Dodgers roster; now after his strong 2008 showing he should get a chance to break into The Show and if not, he will pitch at Albuquerque and be on the short list if help is needed during 2009.

Brent Leach

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
2008	IEmp    0-1  1.35    9    0   3  13.0  11    4   13  .239
	Jax     2-2  2.88   40    0  12  59.0  44   34   49  .215
 Totals		7-6  2.90  117   23  20  260  211  141  286  .228    

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