Ask a lot of young men if they’d rather be working in Las Vegas or New York, and it’d be a lot like asking who’s the better Red Sox player between David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia.
For Jack Leathersich, a 24-year-old flamethrowing left-handed pitcher from Beverly, working his way through the New York Mets organization means he’ll spend the bulk of 2014 in either Vegas (home of the Triple-A 51’s) or in the Big Apple at palatial Citi Field with the big club.
Leathersich’s journey to the Majors took another step forward recently when the Mets announced that he was one of 20 ‘non-roster’ players they’re inviting to spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla. next month.
“I was thrilled. It’s going to be a great experience,” said Leathersich. “It’s an honor to get invited. I’m going to go in ready to go and see what happens.”
It’ll be Leathersich’s third spring training as a pro after signing with the Mets as a fifth round draft choice out of UMass-Lowell in 2011. He began last season in Double-A before earning a promotion to Las Vegas in June.
Various websites rate him as one of the top 20 prospects in the Mets system, and MLB.com puts him 17th up from a midseason rating of 21st last summer.
As a left-handed pitcher projected as a big league reliever, Leathersich is going to Port St. Lucie looking to show that he’s improved since last summer, but also to learn as much as he can.
“To be able to pick those guys’ brains, guys that have been doing it a while, to see how they carry themselves and how they go about their business is an experience,” said Leathersich. “I’m going in with open ears. I know you can’t take everything in because everybody’s different, but there are so many little tips that can help, and you pick and choose what’ll work for you.”