Phillies baseball has seen father-son combinations in years past, but the Leiter family has a special history in the organization
After 12 relief appearances in his first Major League season, 26-year-old Mark Leiter Jr started against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday. With his father, Mark Leiter Sr in the stands, the junior Leiter put on a stellar performance over six innings to notch his first Major League win.
Leiter Jr threw six innings, allowing no runs on three hits with five strikeouts and a walk. In doing so, he lowered his ERA to 3.60 on the season.
Drafted by the Phillies in the 22nd round of the 2013 June Amateur Draft out of New Jersey Institute of Technology, Leiter Jr was never spectacular, posting a record of 28-22 with a 3.90 ERA over five seasons in the minors.
While it’s always special to record the first Major League win, this was more special to both father and son. It was the first time in Phillies franchise history that a father-son combo each recorded a win.
The Leiters join a motley of Major League pitchers to have two generations of wins in one major league organization, including Steve and Jason Grilli.
For those that don’t recall, Mark Leiter Sr pitched in the Major Leagues from 1990 to 2001 for eight different teams, including the Phillies from 1997 to 1998. He struggled as a starter in 1997, going 10-17 with a 5.67 ERA over 31 starts. Leiter Sr was much more dependable out of the bullpen the following year, going 7-5 with a 3.55 ERA and 23 saves in 69 appearances.
As for what the rest of the season and the future holds for Mark Leiter Jr, only time will tell. He was much less effective out of the bullpen than his start last night. In 12 relief appearances, Leiter walked 14 in 19 innings and posted a relatively high 4.74 ERA.
Mainly a starter in the minors, Leiter was adept at keeping the ball in the park, allowing only 0.6 home runs per nine innings. He made hitters work to get on base, yielding just 2.3 walks per nine innings.
With the Phillies going nowhere fast, perhaps it’s time to see what Leiter Jr can do on a regular basis in the rotation and add to the wins for the father-son combo.