Right-hander Sam LeCure is making his major league debut tonight on the mound for the Cincinnati Reds. LeCure’s last start for Louisville was a complete game one-hit shutout, which on the heels of his 7 shutout innings on May 17, earned him the International League’s Pitcher of the Week honors last week. LeCure has made 34 AAA starts for the Bats, compiling a 15-10 record and a 3.90 ERA. In 203.1 innings, LeCure has given up 200 hits, allowed 59 walks, and struck out 176 batters.
Behind Mike Leake, Travis Wood, Matt Maloney, and Aroldis Chapman in the competition for the 5th starter’s spot in Spring Training, LeCure is the first starting pitcher to get called up from the minors this year. While no one is expecting him to be the ace of the staff, he profiles as a consistent and durable #3/4 type pitcher with good control.
Sam LeCure was drafted in the 4th round of the 2005 draft out of the University of Texas even though he did not pitch for the Longhorns that season. John Sickels credited the Reds with a good bit of scouting in his 2006 Baseball Prospect Book, noting that LeCure was academically ineligible in 2005, yet the Reds selected him on what they saw from him in 2004.
Sickels’ graded LeCure as a C+ prospect after 41.1 innings at the Rookie Billings level, calling him a “sleeper”.
LeCure has good stuff, a 90-93 mph fastball, an effective slider, a solid changeup. He throws strikes…he has a good feel for pitching and can outthink hitters.
In 2006, LeCure skipped Dayton and spent his first full professional season starting for the Sarasota A+ team. He made 27 starts that season, pitched over 141 innings, and allowed just 130 hits, 46 walks, 115 strikeouts with a 3.43 ERA.
Following his 2006 season with Sarasota, LeCure pitched 2 seasons with AA Chattanooga from 2007-08 and 1+ season with AAA Louisville from 2009-10. His control has improved for the 4th consecutive season this year as seen in his dropping BB/9 ratio. He strikes out 7.9 batters per 9 innings and allows about 1 hit per inning pitched.
The following table highlights LeCure’s past four professionals seasons in the upper minors and summarizes his minor league career totals:
|AA (2 seasons)||16||12||3.73||48||265.1||24||104||232||1.394||9.0||0.8||3.5||7.9|
|AAA (2 seasons)||15||10||3.90||34||203.1||21||59||176||1.274||8.9||0.9||2.6||7.8|
John Sickels’ 2010 scouting report on LeCure is consistent with what he wrote four years ago, calling LeCure a durable, consistent inning-eater:
His stuff isn’t earth-shattering: 87-91 fastball, okay slider, okay changeup, but he mixes them well, throws strikes, and knows how to pitch.