Erick Leal - Mesa Solar Sox - 2018 Arizona Fall League

Feature Photo: Erick Leal, RHP, Cubs

Editor’s Note: We’ve added all of our recent scouting reports, spotlights, and live video from the Arizona Fall League to our 2018 sortable libraries at the links below:

Also, be sure to check out our podcasts page for episodes of Defensive Indifference (AFL Edition) with your hosts Ryan Sullivan and John “Uncle Jack” Eshleman. 

You can read all of our Arizona Fall League updates at this link.

Featured AFL Videos

 Featured AFL Reports

  • Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers (Peoria Javelinas) -Adam McInturff
  • Nico Hoerner, SS, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox) -John Eshleman
  • Kyle Muller, LHP, Braves (Peoria Javelinas) -Adam McInturff
  • Daz Cameron, OF, Tigers (Mesa Solar Sox) -John Eshleman
  • Hudson Potts, 3B, Padres (Peoria Javelinas) -Adam McInturff

 Featured AFL Notes from the Field

Featured AFL Spotlights

Lucius Fox, SS, Rays (Peoria Javelinas)
Ht/Wt: 6’1”/180 lbs.                             B/T: S/R             Age (as of September 1, 2018): 21y, 4m


Fox lacked strength early in his pro career and ran into some initial struggles at the plate. He’s now finding himself offensively as he grows into a lithe 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame, developing into a tablesetter who makes contact and uses his speed. The switch-hitter is better from the right-hand side of the plate, able to drive the ball with more authority. Fox has a loose and athletic cut with balance from both sides, but there’s still a ways to go offensively hitting as a lefty. He has below-average raw power and will never be much of a home run threat, though he projects to slash the gaps and leg out his share of extra base hits.

Fox’s best tools are away from the plate, as his excellent athletic ability plays on the bases and at shortstop. A plus runner, he’s a consistent threat to steal, and he ranges well on defense. I was impressed with his ability to finish plays on the run and from different arm slots with his above-average arm.

The bat is still at least a full year away from ready—if not two—but with continued offensive development, the ceiling is an everyday shortstop in the big leagues. In the best-case scenario, Fox profiles as a glove-first regular who hits near the top or the bottom of a lineup, doing the little things to get on base and letting the big bats drive him in. In the event he doesn’t make enough of a dent offensively for regular at-bats, Fox’s athleticism, speed, and defense will still make him a versatile big league role player. Still just 21-years-old, Fox has time on his side to keep getting stronger and get the bat where it needs to be. -Adam McInturff

Erick Leal, RHP, Cubs (Mesa Solar Sox)
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/180 lbs.                             B/T: R/R             Age (as of September 1, 2018): 23y, 5m

A strong, well-built right-hander, Leal turned heads by but allowing a run through his first 17.1 AFL innings. He was touched up in his last start of the fall, but his performance in Phoenix—generally a hitter’s league—has been impressive nonetheless. After missing all of 2017 with an elbow injury, the 23-year-old spent 2018 with High A Myrtle Beach, where he held hitters to a paltry .156 BAA in 63.2 innings.

Leal’s effectiveness stems more from pitchability and strikethrowing than raw stuff. His fastball sits 91-to-92 mph, and although it has some life, the pitch can be squared when he’s not working it to the edges. With a quiet delivery, Leal is largely able to do that, keeping the pitch down with plane from his high three-quarters slot. He works in-out and up-down to keep hitters off-balance, aided by an average mid-70’s curveball that’s thrown in all counts. He throws his 83-to-85 mph changeup to both righties and lefties, able to show it early in counts and keep hitters off balance—compensating for only modest fade on the offering. Overall, Leal grades out to three future-average pitches and average command, a repertoire built more for inducing soft contact than it is for missing bats.

As Leal faces higher quality hitters, his stuff will be exposed by MLB hitters better able to find the barrel. That said, his above-average control and wide mix of pitches can get him to the big leagues in a mop-up or long-relief role. -John Eshleman