Right-handed reliever Zech Lemond signed with the Miami Marlins through free agency just prior to the 2018 minor league season.
Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 185 of 286. For the first 100, click here.
Zechariah David Lemond is a 6’4″, 200 lb. right-handed relief pitcher from Houston, Texas. If he eventually reaches the major leagues, he’ll be the 114th (and counting) Houston native to do so. Lemond was born on October 9th, 1992, and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 50th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, out of Waltrip HS. He hits 94-to-96 on his fastball, and also boasts a plus curveball.
Lemond didn’t join the Pirates, instead joining the Rice Owls for three seasons of Conference USA play. He appeared in 62 games in total, starting eight times. He racked up a 12-3 record and an impressive 1.91 ERA, saving 18 games and striking out 155 in 163 innings. He also only allowed a 1.06 WHIP during his college career.
Lemond’s patience paid off, literally, when the San Diego Padres chose him in the third round of the 2014 draft. Chosen 86th overall, 20-of-54 players from that position have made it to the major leagues. The “86 Club” is led by Ozzie Smith (1977, Padres, 76.9 career WAR), Matt Clement (1993, Padres, 12.4 WAR), and Shawn Chacon (1996, Colorado Rockies, 6.5 WAR).
Lemond came to terms with the Padres for a $600,000 signing bonus, and reported to the short-season-A Eugene Emeralds in the Northwest League. Ranked as San Diego’s number 26 prospect entering the season, he started eight times and made three trips out of the bullpen, striking out 34 in 38 innings with a 1.16 WHIP and a 3.79 ERA.
2015 would see Lemond start and end the season with the high-A Lake Elsinore Storm, in the California League. At this point of Lemond’s career, he was still being tried out as a starter, and started in 22-of-32 appearances through the season. He was 5-10 with a 5.54 ERA and 101 K’s in 130 innings. He also uncorked 11 wild pitches and posted a career-worst 1.68 WHIP.
Lemond remained with the Storm in 2016, and went 6-5 with a 6.66 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP with 57 whiffs in 78 frames, starting in 13-of-19 appearances. With the Storm for a third season in 2017, Lemond appeared exclusively in relief, making 44 trips out of the pen. His K/9 increased to 9.32, with 68 K’s in 65 2/3 innings, along with a 4.39 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Here’s Lemond pitching with the Storm in 2017, courtesy of Baseball Census.
Nearly all the way through 2018 Spring Training, the Padres released Lemond, where the Miami Marlins picked him up on March 22nd.
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In Lemond’s first Miami Marlins season, he split the year between the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League and the double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the Southern League. He was most impressive with the Hammerheads, appearing in 20 games and racking up a 3-0 record and a 0.64 ERA while striking out 25 in 28 innings. His WHIP dropped down to a career-best 0.86. As a crustacean, Lemond was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and 19 K’s in 20 innings.
In total through 2018, Lemond threw down a 2.29 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Of his 733 pitches, Lemond put 491 in the strikezone, a 67.0 percent strike rate. He was at his best on August 10th, when he struck out four over two perfect innings and earned the win in a 6-5, seven-inning victory against the Daytona Tortugas. Lemond is currently rostered with Jupiter, but should join the Jumbo Shrimp before the start of the 2019 season. If everything breaks his way, the soonest he would likely get a look at the major league level with Miami is sometime in 2020.
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