Leesman Continues Education In AFL
CHICAGO—Charlie Leesman is learning all about highs and lows in his second full season as a pro.
Leesman seemed on a fast track when the White Sox invited the lefthander to big league training camp but then was sent to high Class A Winston-Salem to open the season. He split the season between there and Double-A Birmingham, getting better results at the higher levels, and then continued his education with an assignment to the Arizona Fall League.
Leesman is viewed as second to Chris Sale in the organization's ranking of lefthanded pitching prospects. He's a starter but has been working out of the bullpen for the Peoria Saguaros, with results that suggest end-of-the-year fatigue (0-1, 11.37, .444 opponents' average in seven appearances).
"When you're trying to work on something, whether it's during a season or not during a season, it's going to be frustrating," Leesman said.
"They tell you not to look at your stats because they don't. It's one of those things where you just can't worry about it. You know what you need to do and keep working on it, and it's going to pay off."
Leesman has a fastball that can shut down even the best lefthanded hitters when he's on—sitting at 88-92 and spiking to 95 when he throws four-seamers—but he has worked on a cut fastball and on his slider, trying to develop a more rounded arsenal. He threw 148 innings between Winston-Salem and Birmingham, so the Sox were limiting his workload in the AFL.
Leesman, 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, was an 11th-round pick from Xavier in 2008. He threw more fastballs in Birmingham than Winston-Salem, and the result was that he cut his ERA from 5.10 to 2.69, going 5-2 in 11 Double-A starts. The Sox believe the development of his secondary pitches will determine if he reaches the potential to compete for a job in the rotation.
• The White Sox asked for waivers on Carlos Torres to allow him to pursue a chance to pitch in Japan or Korea. A 15th-round pick in the 2004 draft, Torres pitched for the White Sox in 2009 and '10, making 13 appearances, including six starts.
• Righthander Jhonny Nunez, who split 2010 between Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, is off to a solid start as a set-up man for Licey in the Dominican League. He had six strikeouts and no walks over four innings in his first three outings.