Friday, December 23, 2016

Pitchers Barreda, Leon sign with MLB organizations

A pair of pitchers who've plied their trade in Mexican baseball in 2016 have signed contracts with Major League Baseball organizations for next season.  Manny Barreda came to terms with the Atlanta Braves while Arcenio Leon has inked a pact with the Detroit Tigers.

Barreda was signed by the Braves on the heels of making the most of the first complete game of his ten-year professional career on November 26, tossing a ho-hitter for the Mexican Pacific League's Los Mochis Caneros' 2-0 win over Hermosillo. Barreda was one walk and one error away from a perfect game against the Naranjeros, throwing 138 pitches during his effort.  Following the signing, Atlanta general manager John Coppolella said on Twitter, "We signed a pitcher from the Mexican League whose name is Manny Barreda. We are always looking for talent in Mexico. We want a future (Julio) Urias."

Barreda was the Yankees' 12th round draft pick from Sahuarita High School in 2007 and started his pro career in the Gulf Coast League that summer, turning in a 5-0 record with a save over three starts and eight trips from the bullpen.  He spent the majority of his first eight pro seasons in the Yanks' chain before going to the Brewers organization for a year and a half in 2014.  His nine-year totals between the two systems included a 23-13 record (8 saves) and a 3.56 ERA while limiting opponents to a .233 batting average.  Solid, but relatively nondescript.

Barreda joined Tijuana of the Mexican League late in the 2015 season and pitched for the Toros through last summer, also as a reliever, going 2-1 with 1 save and a 3.99 ERA in that time.  Pitching this winter for Los Mochis, however, he's been converted to a starting role by Caneros manager Luis Sojo and is making the most of it.  Barreda is a so-so 3-3 after 11 starts, but his 2.40 ERA is fourth in the MexPac while his 1.13 WHIP is tied with Jalisco's Tyler Alexander as best in the loop among starters.  Barreda will attend the Braves spring training camp in Lake Buena Vista, Florida after the conclusion of the current season.

The 30-year-old Leon will initially be assigned to the Tigers' AAA Toledo affiliate in the International League after signing with Detroit a few weeks ago.  A native of Maracaibo, Venezuela, the 6'3" right-hander toiled for eight seasons in the Astros minor league system between 2005 and 2012 before spending two more summers in the Brewers system and one more in 2015 with the White Sox' AAA Charlotte farm club.  Over 11 summers in organized baseball, usually serving as a middleman, Leon had a career mark of 24-36 with 25 saves and a 4.63 ERA in 342 appearances (including 25 starts).  Last summer, Leon made his Mexican League debut with the Monclova Acereros, quickly becoming the team's closer and going on to lead the Liga with 36 saves in 42 opportunities, augmented by a 5-4 record and a respectable 3.30 earned-run average.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Tigers GM Avila said, "Even the good teams are looking for pitching...so that's one area where, this winter, I would see us heavily involved in the six-year minor league free agent market trying to sign some pitching depth to help us because we can use it throughout the year."