Leasure making strong impression in White Sox camp

February 27th, 2024

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- ’s Cactus League debut resulted in one hitless inning and one strikeout during the White Sox 4-2 loss to the Rangers Monday at Camelback Ranch.

But the hard-throwing right-hander and non-roster invite already had served notice to White Sox camp before the games began. Veteran outfielder Andrew Benintendi listed Leasure as the best guy he had faced during workouts in a conversation with Ethan Katz, as recounted to the media recently by the White Sox pitching coach.

Leasure could only smile when that story was brought up to him Monday.

“That was pretty cool,” Leasure said. “I’ve been just going out there doing my thing and trying not to think too much about it. But it’s kind of cool to get some recognition for sure, especially from Benintendi, a guy who has been in the league for a while.

“It’s been great, having a lot of fun. Getting to know a lot of the new guys. I think the vibes all around are really positive. Feeling pretty good.”

Leasure, 25, is the White Sox No. 19 prospect per MLB Pipeline. He’s taking advantage of big league Spring Training to talk with veteran relievers such as Jesse Chavez and Corey Knebel while competing with them for a bullpen spot.

Many view Leasure as the team’s closer of the future, which is a role he fully embraces.

“I like that role. I like high leverage situations,” Leasure said. “But there’s a lot of guys in this clubhouse that have done that in the past. Even if it’s them, learn something from them through their years of doing it. It’s all learning. It’s all good things that can be taken away.

“There are a lot of guys here fighting for a few spots, but I think I have a pretty good chance. As long as I go out there and do my thing, if they think I can be a part of this team and help, I’m all for it. If not, somewhere down the line this season I’ll be called up and be ready.”

Diamond friends

Leasure and came from the Dodgers at the 2023 Trade Deadline along with outfielder Trayce Thompson in a deal sending Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly to Los Angeles. It’s a friendship helping both players ease into their life with the White Sox.

“I’ll be friends with Jordan until the day I die,” Nastrini said. “We’re good friends now. It’s nice that we’re next to each other [in the White Sox clubhouse at Camelback Ranch] but it’s nice to get to know other guys in the organization.”

Nastrini, the White Sox No. 6 prospect, threw 29 pitches in his Cactus League debut Monday, allowing one run with one strikeout.

“It was fun,” Nastrini said. “It was good to get the cobwebs out, get the first one underneath you. But I felt pretty stoic out there. I just wanted to have all my stuff in the zone.

“The first inning my breaking ball was around the zone but the fastball was one I was able to consistently get in the zone, command it in all four quadrants. The second inning I was able to have more feel for it, threw a curve over, got a couple changeups in there. So I’m happy with the way I ended it.”

Crochet to start Tuesday

gets his first start Tuesday against the Dodgers, which also happens to be Shohei Ohtani’s Dodgers debut. Crochet has been making the move from reliever to starter, a role he last held part time with Tennessee from 2018-20 when 13 of his 36 appearances were as a starter.

“Right now things are coming pretty natural,” Crochet said. “Been in [Erick] Fedde’s ear a lot, gleaning whatever information I can from him, as well as the other starters. Not a whole lot to change in my routine.”