Give Leatherman time to shine in Syracuse

Nationals right-handed reliever Dan Leatherman made the rare two-level promotion from Potomac to Syracuse last week and got hit a little bit.

But with the resume he had put together in Woodbridge, you really have to give the 25-year-old Frederick, MD native more than just two games at Triple-A to show the pitching prowess that was closing out games for nearly two seasons in the Carolina League.

The West Virginia University product was lighting it up for Advanced-A Potomac, going 3-2 with a 2.12 ERA, 11 saves, 57 strikeouts on only 12 walks and 31 hits in 46 and 2/3 innings. That is a ridiculous WHIP of .931.

However, this week Leatherman allowed three runs on eight hits in two appearances for Syracuse but walked only one and struck out five batters.

Potomac pitching coach Paul Menhart says Leatherman should be fine and was close to a promotion when I sat down with him in a recent visit.

"Dan is outstanding in any situation. He comes in and seems to always get the big strikeouts. He has that changeup we have talked about.

"He has got a future because he has a repeatable delivery. The hitters are telling us they are not picking it up.

"Dan gets a lot of swings and misses with the split-fingered fastball and the changeup. They are only about two or three miles per hour apart.

"One has a little more depth than the other. The arm speed is so similar that it is difficult for Single-A hitters to pick it up."

Now all Leatherman has to do his show he can do it at Triple-A.

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