Chris Leroux has always expressed an interest in being a starting pitcher. When he has been given the opportunity the results have been good. In this in-depth CBN article about Leroux, some great quotes are included and it mentions that the 6’6″ right-hander will be a starter for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.
“I’m not quite sure what my future holds, but starting is something I enjoy,” said Leroux, a Mississauga, ON native. “Having the ability to start and relieve is not something many guys can do, so it’s certainly a positive thing in my eyes, and I’m sure in the Pirates eyes.”
As it turns out, it’s a positive development for Team Canada as well. Thanks to his versatility, Leroux has been tabbed by national team director Greg Hamilton to serve as a starter in March’s World Baseball Classic.
“I’m extremely honoured to get the opportunity,” Leroux said. “(Hamilton) hasn’t given me any indication as to what game I’ll be pitching, but I’ll be ready for whatever team I’m up against and continue to show the baseball world I’m not just a reliever.”
The Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation is full of options for 2013. Back in 2012 that wasn’t the case, and Chris Leroux, who seems to be dead set on being a starter, made it known that he wanted to be included in that mix.
Throughout most of his time in Pittsburgh, Leroux has always played the good soldier and pitched out of the bullpen as he has been told to do. It usually works like this: Leroux asks to be stretched out, it doesn’t happen, he gets waived, clears waivers, he gets a shot to start and pitches well in Indianapolis, and then the right hander is put back in the bullpen when he comes to Pittsburgh.
The Pirates see something Leroux doesn’t.
Back in 2012, Paul Maholm was shown the door, Charlie Morton suffered from a hip injury and Kevin Correia was up and down. Despite all that, Leroux wasn’t able to crack even the thought process of the starting rotation.
In spring training he still missed bats as he pitched out of the bullpen, but too many hits against minor leaguers had us a bit concerned he might not even make the club as a reliever, let alone be a starter.
It was interesting to see a pitcher with swing and miss stuff, which didn’t exist among the Pirates starting five at that time outside of James McDonald on occassion.
JMac fired out of the gate. A.J. Burnett was acquired.
And Leroux stayed in the bullpen.
Maybe one day Leroux will get his shot to crack the rotation. But if it doesn’t come in 2013, and that appears unlikely, it might not happen in Pittsburgh.
Older posts on Leroux
So we move our attention to Leroux because, well, heh, at least Leroux is healthy. And watching Leroux put away the Brewers in this video is fun as hell.
Seeing Chris Leroux as a starter in the Dominican eases my mind a bit. Leroux struckout six in his first start and walked the leadoff hitter in the first inning. Leroux got four swinging strikeouts and two looking on Monday. Strikeouts were consistent for Leroux in his career, the walks were always the difficulty for the 6’6″ Canadien.
There were some discussions near the end of the season about Leroux being moved to the rotation, but Pirates GM Neal Huntington rebuffed any talk by simply saying, we asked Leroux to get hitters out as a relief pitcher–’and he has done that.’
So we can only speculate that being a starter for Dean Treanor and the Toros del Este is perhaps his next progression.
Or maybe it’s simply the Pirates looking for a fallback option that right now looks like a good one. So we will be keeping an eye on how Leroux does, it just might help his efforts to be a starter for the Bucs in 2012.
Leroux had an impressive 135ERA+ in his 25 innings in 2011. Given the state of the Pirates rotation as we sit here in October, having Leroux get some work as a starter might be a very good, and a very inexpensive idea.
A more detailed story from us on Leroux along with his gamelog from this season :