Leibrandt Picks off Yankees; April 21, 2015

The Threshers broke a modest 2-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over the Tampa Yankees.  Brandon Leibrandt picked off half of the 6 runners who reached base during his seven innings with a deceptive slide-step.  Edubray Ramos picked up his first save. 

The Threshers seemed to draw a break when the  Yankees’ starter was recently called-up Chaz Hebert.  He had an impressive 2 starts in Charleston, 1 ER in 10.1 IP, 2 BB, 14 K, and a 0.77 WHIP.  But this would be his first start at Advanced A.

Tuesday’s line up.

Line up 4-21-2015

Leibrandt pitched a great game.  His fastball started at 89-92 (he hit 91 once and 92 three times in the first inning).  He also recorded 2 strikeouts in a perfect first inning while throwing 14 strikes on 18 pitches.  He continued pounding the strike zone in the second inning while retiring the Yankees in order.

Leibrandt ran his only 3-ball count to begin the third inning.  The batter lined a single to right field.  But, Leibrandt began a pattern that would continue through the game when he picked the runner off first base.  He recorded another strike out in the inning.

He retired the Yankees in order in the fourth inning while picking up his fourth strike out.  After retiring the first two batters in the fifth inning, Leibrandt allowed a ground single to center.  An error by Walding on a ground ball presented the only real threat Leibrandt faced.  He ended the inning with another strike out.

The Yankees opened the sixth inning with back-to-back singles, an infield base hit followed by a solid line drive back through the box that deflected off Liebrandt’s glove into centerfield.  Leibrandt picked off each runner in turn, then recorded his sixth strike out.

At this point, Leibrandt had thrown 79 pitches.  After the first inning, his fastball was 88-90.  He even dipped to a couple 87s and 86s in the fifth and sixth innings.  However, he came out to pitch the seventh inning.  He surrendered a leadoff single, but rebounded to retire the next three batters, one on his seventh strike out.  He reached 93 on his 85th pitch, his only pitch over 90 after the first inning.

Edubray Ramos pitched the final two innings. He allowed 1 single and struck out 2 batters.  He also earned his first save of the season.  His fastball was 94-96.

The Yankees’ Hebert stymied the Threshers for a few innings.  He recorded 2 strike outs in a 1-2-3 first inning.  He gave up a long, ground rule double to left centerfield by Dylan Cozens to lead off the second.  The drive was initially ruled a home run but was correctly changed to a double because the ball came down between the padding and the fence on the berm (just to the right of the Carraba’s sign for those familiar with Bright House).  After a short delay, Astudillo grounded out to short on the first pitch (not a good at bat, but to be fair a lot of Threshers swing at the first pitch).  Brown stroked a fly ball to right that would have scored Cozens if he had been moved to third.  Green walked, but Cozens was stranded when Hebert recorded his third of five strike outs.

Lohman reached on an error to start the third inning (it was the Yankees turn to commit 4 fielding errors tonight).  Hebert duplicated Leibrandt’s feat in the top of the inning when he picked Lohman off first base.

Cozens lined his second hit of the night to right field with one out in the fourth inning.  Then the Yankees’ defense imploded.  The scoring for the next 4 batters was – E4F, E6F, K, E3F.  And, Cozens was able to amble home with the game’s first run.

The Threshers finally got to the young pitcher in the fifth inning.  Brodie Greene reached on a single.  Pullin followed with a single of his own.  Greg Legg eschewed the bunt and Knapp struck out for his second of three for the night.  Astudillo loaded the bases with a bad bounce, infield single that extended his hitting streak to 10 games.  Aaron Brown grounded a 2-run single to left field.  Astudillo forced a cutoff and stayed in the rundown between second and third long enough for the second run to score.

That was it for the offense.  The Yankees’ reliever retired the final nine Threshers’ in order.

Leibrandt was responsible for a really well-pitched game.  He has what a lot of analysts call “pitchability”.  I know a lot of you are concerned how his velocity will play at higher levels.  But, isn’t it possible that he can hit higher numbers on velo but doesn’t because he doesn’t need to, yet?  He keeps batters off balance with a wide range of velocities and pitches.  He hit 16 different speeds between 76 and 93.  It’s early and a small sample, but Leibrandt’s  command and control sure look good enough with his current velocity.

The box score for this game is here.


14 thoughts on “Leibrandt Picks off Yankees; April 21, 2015

  1. I would feel alright about Leibrandt if his fastball was consistently 89-92; he doesn’t have too far to go. I just don’t think he’s much of a prospect if he’s sitting 85-86 mph and topping out at 88. So, to me, this game report is a positive for him even though he didn’t maintain his velocity all the way through. Hopefully that will come in time.

    1. Mid to upper 80s may be all he needs. In the book Pitch Like a Pro, it states, “Charlie Leibrandt didn’t throw his fastball more than 80 mph…”.

      1. Just to clarify, he threw no more than 80 when with the Braves (while winning 15 games), but overall, was at 83-85.

  2. I would challenge him. He is making mincemeat of single A. Lets see if his velocity plays at Reading. He already has good control and keep batters off balance.

    1. Didn’t he get double jumped to Clearwater? He’s already getting challenged.

      Perhaps he could turn into a Mark Buehrle type pitcher. There’s still value in that.

  3. Jim doesn’t Leibrandt have a plus change , nice to see a good team in Clearwater only to get better when Macias and Arano comeback and move up. Ty Jim nice job .

  4. Actually, the way his stuff was previously explained, it didn’t seem that he had the ability to pitch in the low 90s at all. While I reserve ultimate judgment until he gets a chance to pitch in Reading, it is worth noting that he skipped a whole level to pitch in Clearwater and seems to really know what he is doing. If you’re a lefty, change speeds, throw strikes, have multiple effective pitches and enough of a fastball to keep a hitter honest, you can go pretty far in professional baseball. That Yankees team can hit too, so this is very encouraging.

    1. I think starting the second year in Clearwater is standard practice for advanced college players, and the good ones usually get a taste of AA. Recent examples include Asche and Morgan.

      Really, if you start in Williamsport and go one level/year, you are behind.

  5. I’m glad Leibrandt is off to a good start, but how many late-round college pitchers with questionable stuff put up good numbers in the low minors? Plenty.

    I think we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves because of his last name. Most pitchers with his skill set look good in the lower levels, and then eventually reach a level where they can’t get people out. Not saying this will definitely happen, but I think it’s the most likely outcome.

    To me, it’s much more significant that he hit 92 than that he picked off and struck out a bunch of players in A-ball.

    1. He was the phillies 6 rd last yr so he wasn’t late. Truth he has to do the AA experience I think he played for Florida st so he’s used to some Older talented players.

    2. I think we all agree we need to see him succeed at higher levels. I’m concerned about the velocity because you might trick an A+ level hitter when you only have an 87 MPH heater, but that’s not going to work in big leagues.

      1. I’m still wondering if that was his ch because he has a plus ch . He can 92 hope let’s see in the middle of the summer when pitcher’s arm get stronger plus he’s a lefty.we all like to see what he has AA . Right now there’s no room which is for the organization. Finally getting depth with Arano pitching soon.

  6. Just remember who pushed for him in the Top 50. And voted him as his sleeper!

    But I do agree, it is easier for college pitchers to succeed below AA; for college pitchers, AA is the real proving ground.

    That said, I do like what I see. And I stand by my predictions!

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