Baltimore Orioles Acquire 2018 Draft Pick David Lebron
The Baltimore Orioles have traded international bonus slot money to the Texas Rangers for RHP David Lebron.
The Baltimore Orioles announced during Sunday’s radio broadcast of their spring training game with the Toronto Blue Jays that they have traded an unspecified amount of International Bonus slot money to the Texas Rangers for RHP David Lebron.
Lebron was selected by the Rangers in the 26th round of the 2018 MLB Draft (779 overall) out of the University of Tampa. In two years with the Spartans, he compiled a 17-1 record over 31 appearances (29 starts) with 242 strikeouts, 55 walks, and a 2.45 ERA in 187.2 innings of work. Additionally, Lebron was named the 2018 ABCA/Rawlings Division II National Pitcher of the Year after going 10-0 in 16 starts with 139 strikeouts and a 2.24 ERA.
Lebron pitched exclusively in relief at two levels in 2018. He started the year in the Northwest League (A-Short) pitching for the Spokane Indians where he appeared in seven games, posting a 16/5 K/BB ratio and limiting opposing hitters to a .157 average across 14.2 innings of work. He recorded no official record but did finish with a 0.61 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP.
In July, Lebron was promoted to Down East Wood Ducks (Kinston, NC) of the Carolina League (A-Adv.) where he pitched a total of six innings (three appearances) and posted a 3.00 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP with three strikeouts and one walk.
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After making those three appearances, Lebron was returned to Spokane and had his season end with a placement on the 60-day disabled list on August 3rd due to an unspecified injury. He finished 2018 with a composite 0-0 record in 10 appearances (20.2 innings pitched) with a 1.31 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, a .162 batting average against with 19 strikeouts and six walks.
Despite the small sample size, Lebron had decent pitch rates of 8.3 strike outs/9 innings, 2.6 walks/9 innings, and a 3.17 strikeout to walk ratio. He threw just two wild pitches and did not surrender a home run. He also induces more ground balls than fly balls, a positive trait for any pitcher.
I see this move mainly as general manager Mike Elias adding to the organization’s depth by trading a commodity (International Bonus slot money) that the Orioles have an excess of. Ironically, the trade may allow the Rangers to pursue 22-year-old Cuban shortstop Yolbert Sanchez, a player many fans want the Orioles to sign.
I expect that if he remains in the Orioles’ organization, Lebron will start the year in Delmarva (full-season A-ball) as a member of the Shorebirds. I do not see this trade moving the needle much for the fan base other than to stimulate conversation concerning the organization’s intentions with signing Sanchez.