Astros Claim Wade LeBlanc

The Astros claimed lefty Wade LeBlanc off waivers from the Marlins, tweets's Brian McTaggart.  He'll join the Astros in Kansas City tomorrow, at which point a corresponding active roster move will be made.  The Astros already have an open spot on their 40-man roster.  LeBlanc had been designated for assignment by the Marlins on Monday to open a roster spot for Edgar Olmos

LeBlanc, 28, posted a 5.18 ERA, 5.7 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 1.11 HR/9, and 39.3% groundball rate in 48 2/3 innings this year, including seven starts.  The southpaw was drafted by the Padres in the second round in 2006 out of the University of Alabama.  That round also produced notable big leaguers Trevor Cahill, Justin Masterson, Jon Jay, Brett Anderson, Chris Tillman, and Jeff Locke.  The Padres traded LeBlanc to the Marlins in November 2011 for catcher John Baker.

Optimism toward LeBlanc may have reached its peak before the '08 season, when Baseball America ranked him fourth among Padres prospects (right after Mat Latos).  At that point, BA marked LeBlanc as a "future No. 3 starter" with an excellent changeup but an unimpressive fastball.  This year, among those with 40 innings pitched, LeBlanc's average fastball velocity of 86.0 miles per hour is the fifth-lowest in all of baseball.

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