Phillies 2017 season grades: Pitcher Mark Leiter Jr.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Pitcher Mark Leiter #59 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 15, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 15: Pitcher Mark Leiter #59 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 15, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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The Phillies had numerous problems with their pitching staff in the 2017 season. Grading the pitchers, I take a look at Mark Leiter Jr.

The Phillies lacked consistency in most phases of the game during a disappointing 2017 season in which they finished 66-96. An eye-opening 30 pitchers took the mound this season (31 if you include utility man Andres Blanco).

Clearly there will be a battle for a spot on the staff next spring. One pitcher in the mix is Mark Letier, Jr., who had an up-and-down season, like most of the roster.

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Leiter was solid in five Minor League seasons, although never spectacular. He was 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and 29-23 with a 3.45 ERA in the minors before his call up to the Phillies.

Making his MLB debut on April 28, Leiter threw a scoreless inning in relief against the Dodgers. He was solid over his next nine appearances in relief before allowing four runs in 2/3 of an inning against the Marlins, lifting his ERA for the month to 5.74.

Leiter won his first major-league game on June 23, pitching six shutout innings against the Diamondbacks. In doing so, he and his father, Mark Leiter Sr, became the first father-son combo in franchise history to each record a win.

Besides that victory, Leiter got to do little in the majors in June and July, being optioned back to Triple-A twice. He appeared in only five games in the majors, posting a 3.26 ERA. Pitching mostly as a starter in August, Leiter was very solid with a 3.41 ERA and 29 strikeouts and only six walks in 29 innings.

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What was shaping up to be a fairly impressive rookie season went south quickly in September when Leiter allowed eight earned runs in 3.1 innings. Although striking out 17 over 12 innings over the next two starts, Leiter still had a 6.00 ERA in those two outings.  For the month of September, Leiter pitched to an unsightly 7.71 ERA.

Leiter finished with a record of 3-6 and a 4.96 ERA in 27 games, 11 of them starts. On a positive side, he posted a respectable 84-to-31 strikeout to walk ratio in 90 2/3 innings. On the flip side, he allowed 18 home runs, for an average of nearly two per nine innings.

MARK LEITER, JR.. C-. . Pitcher. Philadelphia Phillies

There were very little expectations for Leiter entering this season, so any contribution he made can be considered a positive. However, there were too few significant moments for Leiter to warrant giving him anything above a mediocre grade. Therefore, he gets a C- from me.

Next: The case for and against Dusty Wathan as manager

In 2018, look for Leiter to compete for a job in the rotation or as the team’s long man in the bullpen.

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