Sometimes, we find out about a new Cubs signing on Twitter. Other times, it’s buried in an article somewhere. And sometimes, the player announces a new deal, himself. But yesterday, we had the rare pleasure of finding out about a new Cubs free agent signing, because … he appeared in the game in a Cubs uniform!
So according to his 2.0 innings against the White Sox yesterday, and the Cubs now updated transaction log, left-hander Brandon Leibrandt has signed a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs. Welcome, guy!
Leibrandt, 29, finally got his first taste of big league action as a reliever with the Marlins in 2020 (9.0 IP, 2.00 ERA) but has otherwise been a career minor/independent league starter.
He spent all of last season in the Marlins upper-minors, making seven starts at Double-A (31.1 IP) and 11 starts and 3 relief appearances at Triple-A (5.18 ERA). Based on his age and those numbers, yes, you can assume this is a pure scouting sign by the Cubs. And, surprisingly, no, he doesn’t have big strikeout numbers or a fastball over 90 MPH (at least, he didn’t in 2020 with the Marlins, and that was closer to his 2018 TJS). But the Cubs must like something about Leibrandt that’s not in the data, and I’m curious to find out more. I didn’t actually catch his appearance yesterday in the Cubs split-squad game, but he went 2.0 IP, 4H, 1ER, with no walks. Not bad.
Notably, Leibrandt had just signed with an Indy league team back at the end of February – the Kentucky Wild Health Genomes of the Atlantic League – and the Cubs must have scouted him, seen something they liked, and wanted to jump. I should also point out that Leibrandt underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018, and missed the entire 2019 season, explaining his age a bit.
Here’s a couple looks at him as a Marlin:
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 23, 2020
The Marlins have finalized their minor league deal with LHP Brandon Leibrandt (reported by Craig Mish last week)
This guy, in case that name doesn't ring a bell… pic.twitter.com/KSnObtIr1Y
— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) April 13, 2021
And here’s just a fun play he was involved in.
— Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (@JaxShrimp) September 6, 2021