Scouting Profile: Les Walrond

With the Lehigh Valley IronPigs struggling horribly, the Phillies looked around for some pitching help and came up with Les Walrond. The left-hander has been a nice addition to the 'Pigs rotation.

Les Walrond is a little past the point where you refer to a player as a prospect. After all, he's 31 years old and has been in professional baseball for 10 years now. He's even pitched briefly in the majors for the Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs, going 0-3, 7.46 in 17 games with the two clubs.

So, what is he doing with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs?

"Actually, this was a good fit for me," said Walrond. "I prefer working as a starter and they were giving me that chance and so far, it's going well." His chance with the IronPigs came after he was released from the Iowa Cubs roster after posting a 6.55 ERA through seven games at Triple-A. As he was drifting around, the Phillies pulled him in and sent him to the starting rotation in Lehigh Valley and he's had a nice turn around to his season. In four starts, he's posted a 2.37 ERA with the club, including seven shutout innings against Norfolk.

Walrond generally throws around 90 miles per hour and throws a good compliment of pitches, including both a two-seam and a four-seam fastball, a slurve (slider/curve) combo and a change-up. He varies speeds on his slurve and can run his fastball both in and out and up and down on hitters and uses the change-up to keep hitters honest. In all honesty, his stuff is best suited to starting because he's not a dominating type pitcher who can come in and get people out quickly. Walrond will pick up some strikeouts, but with Lehigh Valley, he's lived by keeping the ball down and getting a lot of ground ball outs. "I just try to hit my spots and focus on having good control when I'm out there," explained Walrond.

Throughout his career, Walrond worked as a starter, but the Cubs were working him in the bullpen this season and looking for a way to keep him around the organization. "They were trying to find a fit for me, but their starters are pretty secure and they needed some bullpen help, but it just didn't work out," said Walrond. Meanwhile, the 'Pigs had an injury to Travis Blackley to deal with and inconsistent performances from J.D. Durbin and needed help in the rotation, making Walrond a good fit.

Steve Holley, Editor of covered Walrond for two seasons in the Cubs organization and thought Walrond has something to offer the Phillies organization. "Les spent over two years with the Cubs and was a great clubhouse guy. He doesn't overpower you obviously, but he can get left-handers out with his sinker and breaking ball. With the right team or situation, he could be an effect big league reliever," believes Holley.

If nothing else, Walrond can shore up the IronPigs rotation and possibly serve as insurance at the Triple-A level for the Phillies. In 2003, Walrond did have some success at the Triple-A level working as a reliever and even pitched some in relief with Iowa in 2006 and had success. Since he prefers to start and his arsenal is best suited to starting, it's not very likely that he would be of much help to the Phillies bullpen, but you can't absolutely dismiss the idea, either. Odds are that he'll simply stick at Lehigh Valley to give them some stability through their inaugural season.

Les Walrond's career stats

Minors (career) 77 63 4.09 2 251 186 1149.1 1137 601 522 106 489 972 1.41 .260
Majors (career) 0 3 7.46 0 17 2 25.1 30 22 21 4 19 27 1.93 .288

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