As the Mets 5th round draft pick this year, the southpaw from Massachusetts joined the Cyclones having flown in comparatively under the radar.
In his sophomore year at UMass-Lowell, Leatherisch posted a record of 3-2 with a 4.26 ERA. He also struck out a team-high 62 batters in 57 innings and was named Northeast-10 Co-Pitcher of the Week on Mar. 15, 2010.
In his final year in college as a junior, Leathersich led his team in games started (12), innings pitched (89.0), and strikeouts (126). He tallied a record of 6-2 to go along with a dominating 1.62 ERA.
Now 21 years old, Leathersich is ready to make a name for himself at the professional level.
"It's been great here so far," he said. "The transition [from college ball to professional ball] really hasn't been as tough as I imagined. You still have to throw strikes as a professional and it's just a matter of getting comfortable with the team and your role."
For Leathersich, the main transition has been adjusting to his new role in the bullpen. Still, pitching in relief isn't totally foreign to the southpaw: as a sophomore in college, he record three saves.
"Starting and relieving are completely different challenges, but I really enjoy both of them," he said. "Coming out of the pen is a role I've experienced before so I'm pretty comfortable in it."
After a season that saw him primarily as a starter, Leathersich does have a slightly different approach in mind when he heads to the ballpark each day.
"Starting a game is like running a marathon," he said. "You have to pace yourself. Coming in from the bullpen is more like a 100-yard dash where you give it everything you have right out of the gate. I can usually dial-up my fastball to about 95mph when I'm relieving and I stick with my fastball and curveball, no changeups."
Although he hasn't seen a tremendous amount of playing time so far this season, Leathersich still comes prepared to pitch every day. "It's obviously different coming in from the bullpen because you don't know when the team is going to need you for an inning or two," he said. "But that not knowing actually helps keep you on your toes and helps you keep that competitive mindset every time you come out to the ballpark."
Leathersich's repertoire consists of a four-seam fastball, a curveball, a circle changeup and a slurve. "My fastball and curveball have always been my go-to pitches," he said. "I worked a lot on my changeup in my junior year of college and even though I usually stay away from it when I'm relieving, it's a nice weapon to have in the back of my pocket."
So far, in the limited amount of time he's seen, Leathersich has been nothing short of lights out. In his five innings pitched, he's only surrendered two hits and has struck out 11 batters.
"I couldn't be happier with the start I've had and feel really comfortable with my current role," he said. "I'm getting a lot of first pitch strikes and that's really been the key to my success so far."
If he's able to keep up the rate at which he's currently blowing batters away, Leathersich's presence of the mound is sure to strike fear in the opposition for a long time.