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Pirates claim LHP Jack Leathersich off waivers

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have claimed left-handed reliever Jack Leathersich off waivers from the Cubs.

Leathersich is 27 and has been on the cusp of the majors for some time, as shown by the fact that he made appearances on top 30 prospect lists in 2011-13 (Mets) and 2016 (Cubs). He had Tommy John surgery in mid-2015, costing him about half each of that season and the next. He got into 17 games with the Mets in 2015 and one with the Cubs this year.

Leathersich throws a low-90s fastball and his main secondary pitch is a curve. He’s had extraordinary strikeout rates in the minors, with a 14.9 K/9 for his career, including 14.5 in AAA. He’s also fanned 10.9 per nine innings in the majors. He’s also had a lot of control problems, though, walking nearly seven per nine innings in AAA and eight in the majors. This year in AAA he has a 2.84 ERA. In 44.1 innings he’s given up just 25 hits, walked 28 and fanned 72. He’s had some fairly extreme reverse platoon splits in AAA, so he doesn’t seem to be a LOOGY.

The Pirates had a space open on the 40-man roster, so no corresponding move is needed. They’ve have assigned Leathersich to Indianapolis, which indicates that they don’t see this as more than a fringe move.