Leasure, other prospects offer a glimpse into White Sox future

April 7th, 2024

KANSAS CITY -- provided a look into what the White Sox hope is a not-too-distant positive future on a night when their present dropped to a 1-7 record via a 3-0 loss to the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

The right-handed rookie faced off against Bobby Witt Jr. with the bases loaded, one out and the White Sox already down by three runs in the seventh Saturday. It turned into a seven-pitch battle, with Witt chasing a slider out of the zone and striking out.

"I had good stuff, so I pretty much gave him everything I had and beat him that time," said Leasure after the White Sox dropped their third straight in Kansas City. "Big situation, especially when a whole stadium is on their feet, cheering for him. So, it was kind of a pretty cool big league moment.

"Before that [last] pitch, I felt like he was in swing mode a little bit. I kind of had a feeling if I threw it out of the zone anywhere he was probably swinging. I wanted to make sure I didn't leave it in the zone."

Saturday was a good night overall for the latest White Sox youth movement.

, the No. 2 White Sox prospect and No. 48 overall, according to MLB Pipeline, dazzled in his debut for High-A Winston-Salem with 10 strikeouts, no walks and 40 of his 54 pitches thrown for strikes in four scoreless innings.

, the No. 9 White Sox prospect who came over from San Diego as part of the four-player return in the Dylan Cease trade, hurled four scoreless innings in his start for Double-A Birmingham.

Barons catcher , the No. 5 White Sox prospect, launched a two-run home run on his 21st birthday.

These players are the future, as in a year or two removed. At the very least, it will be months before any of them arrive. Leasure, however, has forced his name into present late-inning opportunities at the big league level.

"That was a great battle between him and Witt," White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said.

"He showed composure. He showed weapons. There's a lot to like about Leasure, and that was a good situation to put him in and have him continue to grow and let him feel what it's like.

"He's getting close to having to do some stuff late in the game. I have complete confidence in him. Yesterday, if we tie that ballgame or go ahead, and he was closing the game out or pitching that bottom of the ninth -- he's there. Today was just another step in that direction. We're going to need him."

Kansas City knocked out three hits off Leasure, although only one single had an exit velocity over 75 mph, per Statcast. But not every outing will be perfect for the 25-year-old. The No. 17 White Sox prospect has shown he belongs since the start of Spring Training.

"I'm just learning in that moment to kind of settle down, slow the game down," Leasure said. "Still one pitch at a time, nothing changes, but they got a couple of hits. A little bloop hit and kind of made me work.

"Even in that situation, I was composed to make good pitches to Bobby so I felt good. Not a great outing, but taking away a lot of positives."