The Pittsburgh Pirates have claimed right handed pitcher Chris Leroux off of waivers from the Florida Marlins, and have designated right handed pitcher Brian Bass for assignment. Leroux has just 24.2 innings at the majors league level, with an 8.03 ERA, a 7.3 K/9, and a 5.5 BB/9 ratio. The 26 year old pitcher is 6′ 6″, 210 pounds, and was drafted by the Marlins in the seventh round of the 2005 draft.
Leroux made his debut at AAA this year, with a 6.95 ERA in 22 innings, along with an 8.2 K/9 and a 2.9 BB/9 ratio. In 60 innings at AA last year, Leroux posted a 2.70 ERA with an 8.2 K/9 and a 2.6 BB/9. Leroux took an unusual approach to the majors, jumping from AA to the majors in 2009, and pitching just 22 innings in 2010 in AAA while pitching 18 innings at the major league level. That wasn’t the only unusual thing about his career. Leroux underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2005 draft, yet was still selected by the Marlins. He didn’t pitch his first full season until 2007, when he worked in low-A as a reliever.
Leroux was rated the #19 prospect in Florida’s farm system in 2008, jumped up to #16 in 2009, and was rated #18 prior to the 2010 season. Leroux can throw his fastball 94-96 MPH, and has a tight 87-88 MPH slider. The biggest issue for Leroux at the major league level has been control, although Leroux has lowered his walk rate every year in the minors since his pro debut.
Leroux has more upside than Bass, although he’s definitely a project. If he can fix his control, he could be an interesting pitcher, possibly even a set-up quality reliever. The Pirates have Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek pitching in the back of the bullpen, with Chris Resop looking to be the only other reliever who has secured a spot going in to the 2010 season. Leroux will be worth a look during the remaining games of the 2010 season. He has one option remaining after the season, and can be kept as AAA depth next year.