Rockers Strengthen Rotation with Leibrandt
HIGH POINT, NC - The High Point Rockers have signed left-handed pitcher Brandon Leibrandt. Leibrandt, a sixth-round pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014, ascended steadily through the Phillies minor league system but was unfortunately plagued with injuries which slowed his progress.
Following a 2013 campaign where he won 10 games at Florida State, Leibrandt was 4-1 in 6 starts the following year before being selected by the Phillies. Between the Gulf Coast League Phillies and Williamsport, his first professional season ended with a 3-5 record despite a shining 2.82 ERA. He enjoyed arguably his finest season in 2017, posting a 11-5 mark with a 3.82 ERA in a season split between AA Reading and AAA Lehigh Valley.
Staying healthy has been a challenge for the talented Leibrandt. He suffered a knee injury in college and underwent shoulder surgery in 2015. He began the 2018 season in remarkable fashion, going 4-1 with a 1.82 ERA in 20 appearances (6 starts). Along the way, he set the Iron Pigs' record for consecutive scoreless innings with 29.2 in his first 10 outings. But the season ended with yet another setback, as he underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the 2019 campaign.
Despite the injuries, the upside remains high on Leibrandt, who as recently as 2017 was viewed as a back-end rotation candidate for Philadelphia. He, along with fellow Rockers' hurler Drake Owenby (who missed the majority of last season in his recovery from Tommy John surgery as well) will both be intriguing to watch in 2020, as they provide potential huge upside to the Rockers rotation should they stay healthy.
Rockers' pitching coach Frank Viola echoes that sentiment, lauding Leibrandt's abilities and what he would bring to the Rockers' rotation. "Brandon is a nice addition to our staff. If he returns to pre-injury form, his stuff will play very well. He's a strike thrower, a winner throughout his career, and strong makeup to boot."
Leibrandt is the son of former MLB pitcher Charlie Leibrandt, a member of the 1985 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. Over the course of his 14-year career, he won 140 games and made 3 World Series appearances (1985, and 1991-92 with the Atlanta Braves).
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