The 22-year-old realizes this is a big year as far as where his professional career goes. He’s being used every third day in one-inning relief roles against Double-A players and has struck out a majority of the batters he’s faced thus far. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as how the former Beverly High and UMass Lowell star fanned 113 batters in just 72 innings last summer between Savannah (Ga.) of the South Atlantic League and St. Lucie.
“I’m very happy with how things have gone thus far,” said Leathersich, who has been visited in Florida by his parents, Lew and Leslie, as well as his girlfriend. “I’ve had some really good outings so far, and I’m really happy with my velocity. I’m never going to throw 100 mph, but it’s more about location and what pitch to throw what guy. I can dial it up if I want to, but it’s more about staying within myself.”
The team’s fifth round pick (162nd overall) in the 2011 amateur draft, Leathersich was called up for a big league game a week-and-a-half ago when the Mets took on the Atlanta Bravesin Lake Buena Vista, Fla., But the Mets’ starting pitcher, Jeremy Heffner, went longer (5 innings) into his pitch count than the club expected, and Leathersich didn’t end up appearing in the contest.
“I didn’t mind; it was a great experience just being up there for the game,” said Leathersich. “My focus is staying strong, maintaining a proper diet and keep working out to stay healthy. Plus, you have to stay mentally ready; people don’t realize really get that 142 games in 159 days is a long, long season. It’s those 1-2 days a week that you have to push yourself through (the mental fatigue) and see the long term goal you’re striving for.”