Jordan Leasure (ELZ ‘21) becomes first Appalachian League alum to reach Major Leagues

Leasure is set to join the Chicago White Sox' bullpen to begin the season

The Chicago White Sox announced Wednesday that right-handed reliever Jordan Leasure made the team’s Opening Day roster. Leasure pitched for the Elizabethton River Riders in 2021 and is the first Appalachian League player to reach the Major Leagues since the league rebranded as a summer collegiate league in ‘21.

Leasure, 25, secured a spot on Chicago’s Opening Day roster after posting a 1.93 ERA in 10 relief appearances during Spring Training. He did not permit a run in all but one outing, racking up 11 strikeouts and a 1.18 WHIP in 9.1 innings. Leasure’s performance this spring followed his breakout stint in the Arizona Fall League, where the 6-foot-3, 220-pound righty compiled a 1.08 ERA and 0.48 WHIP with 13 strikeouts in 8.1 innings and pitched in the AFL’s Rising Stars Game.

A Brandon, Fla., native, Leasure pitched five seasons at the University of Tampa, a Division II program. He was named Sunshine State Conference Pitcher of the Year as a senior in 2021 before joining Elizabethton for the Appy League’s inaugural season. Leasure was 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in six relief appearances with the River Riders. He recorded 25 strikeouts against zero walks in 14.0 innings, finishing the summer with a 0.50 WHIP. Along the way, Leasure garnered Appy League June Pitcher of the Month honors after going 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 19 strikeouts.

Selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2021 MLB Draft, Leasure received a quick promotion from High A Great Lakes to Double-A Tusla the following year in his first full professional season. He was 2-2 with five saves in 44 relief appearances with Tulsa, striking out 63 batters in 49.1 innings.

Leasure continued to make strides in his return to Tulsa in 2023, posting a 3.09 ERA with nine saves and 56 strikeouts in 35.0 innings across his first 29 outings. On July 28, the White Sox acquired Leasure and two others from the Dodgers for RHPs Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly ahead of the Trade Deadline. Leasure first reached Triple-A when he joined the South Siders, notching two saves while making 15 appearances out of the bullpen for the Charlotte Knights.

Leasure, the No. 18 prospect on MLB Pipeline’s White Sox Top 30 list, is one of only two pitchers among Pipeline’s 900-ranked prospects to feature an 80-grade fastball -- 2023 No. 1 overall MLB Draft pick Paul Skenes (PIT) is the other. The offering, which parks at 96-98 mph and touches 100 with late, riding life, has been vital in Leasure’s rapid climb through the Minors, netting the right-hander 13.5 strikeouts-per-nine over 117.1 innings.

Founded in 1911, the Appalachian League is one of the longest-running baseball leagues in baseball history and recently completed its third season as a collegiate summer baseball league in partnership with MLB and USA Baseball. The Appy League is the only collegiate summer league under MLB and USA Baseball’s Prospect Development Pipeline (“PDP”) and is an integral part of the identification and development process for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Teams and other future National teams. The league plays a 48-game schedule and comprises ten teams from West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

For more information about the Appalachian League, visit or follow @appyleague & @appyleaguedata on Twitter, and @appyleague on Instagram.