Christopher Adam Leroux
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 6", Weight 210 lb.
- School Winthrop University
- High School St. Joseph Secondary School (Mississauga)
- Debut May 26, 2009
- Born April 14, 1984 in Montreal, QC Canada
Chris Leroux made his major league debut in 2009.
Leroux was with Canada's junior national team in 2001-2002. He was Canada's catcher in the 2002 World Junior Championship, hitting .261/.414/.348 with 7 runs in 7 games but having 3 passed balls. In 2003, he allowed 3 runs in 2 2/3 IP for Winthrop University. He was 1-3 with 5 saves and a 3.41 ERA in 2004, then 2-0 with a 3.70 ERA in 2005. Even though he underwent Tommy John surgery during the 2005 season, he was picked in the 7th round of the 2005 amateur draft by the Florida Marlins.
Signed by scout Joel Matthews, Leroux made his pro debut in 2006, with a 6.19 ERA and 0-4 record at three different stops. In 2007, he was 2-3 with a 4.14 ERA for the Greensboro Grasshoppers, striking out 76 in 71 2/3 innings. He was with Team Canada for the 2007 Baseball World Cup, making just a single appearance. Relieving Jamie Richmond, he completed a 4-hit shutout of the German national team, retiring Jens Heymer, Klaus Hopfensperger and Michael Franke in order.
In 2008, the tall right-hander was on the Jupiter Hammerheads. In 57 games, he went 6-7 with a save and a 3.65 ERA, striking out 78 in 74 innings while allowing 60 hits. He then made the Canadian squad for the 2009 World Baseball Classic and pitched a scoreless inning against Italy as Canada was eliminated in two games; he was one of a number of young pitchers toiling for the Canadian squad, with the team's front-line hurlers having all bowed out for different reasons.
Leroux started 2009 with the Jacksonville Suns, going 2-2 with a save and a 5.89 ERA. He was a surprising call-up to the Marlins and allowed one run on 3 hits in two innings, then was sent back down to Jacksonville. He made three more trips to Florida during the season, but finished strong with Jacksonville, ending with a 2.70 ERA and no home run allowed in 60 innings of relief. In five games for Florida, he had no decisions and a 10.80 ERA.
Leroux was slowed down by an elbow injury in 2010, getting hit hard just about everywhere he pitched. His ERA was 6.95 in 21 games for the New Orleans Zephyrs in his first taste of AAA, and 7.00 in 17 games for the Marlins. He was placed on waivers in September and picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but pitched no better, with a 5.79 ERA and his first major league loss in 6 outings. He worked with Pirates minor league pitching instructor Jim Benedict in spring training in 2011, and he changed a number of things with his delivery, which still had too much the look of that of a converted position player, even though he could push his fastball up to 98 mph on the radar gun. He started the year with AA Altoona, then moved up to AAA Indianapolis. Spending most of July with the Pirates, he picked up his first big league win in an extra-inning victory over the Houston Astros on July 17th, but was sent back to Indianapolis at the end of the month while sporting a 1.50 ERA, the victim of a numbers crunch. He was called up again on August 20th, now having a 2.80 ERA in 61 innings at Indianapolis and finished the season pitching well in Pittsburgh, ending up as the set-up man for closer Joel Hanrahan, with a 2.88 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 25 innings.
Chris had made the Pirates' team at the end of spring training in 2012 when he went down with a pulled muscle in his side suffered in the last game of camp. On the sidelines until June, the Bucs' bullpen was pitching lights out by the time he was ready to start his minor league rehabilitation. The Pirates then decided not to rush him back, but instead to stretch him out by using him as a starter, a role in which he had had great success with the Toros del Este in the Dominican League. By mid-August, his ERA was 2.20 in 19 games at Indianapolis, and he was waiting for the call to help out the Pirates in their run for their first postseason berth in two decades. He had a 5.56 ERA in 10 outings for the 2012 Pirates and they did wind up missing the playoffs (though they would make it in 2013-2014). He finished 4-0 with a 3.11 ERA for Indianapolis in 2012.
In the 2013 World Baseball Classic, he got Canada's lone win. He allowed one unearned run in three innings in a win over Mexico; Andrew Albers took over in the 4th of a 10-3 win. He was thus a bright spot in a rough tournament for Canada. He had a poor summer, though, struggling with the 2013 Pirates (6 BB, 4 H, 3 R in 4 IP) then going to the Yakult Swallows (0-2, 9.00 ERA, 2.18 WHIP in 5 G in 2013 before a right shoulder injury ended his season.
Signed by the New York Yankees, he had a 6-4, 4.94 record in 12 games for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and 0-1 with 7 hits and 5 runs in two innings for the 2014 Yankees. He split the winter between the Toros (0-2, 6.61) and the Navegantes del Magallanes (1-0, 1.23). He began 2015 with the Milwaukee Brewers' Colorado Springs SkySox but struggled (1-3, 8.15, 26 H in 17 2/3 IP). Let go, he was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies, where he started off on a better foot with the Reading Fightin Phils and Lehigh Valley IronPigs. He then returned to Team Canada for the 2015 Pan American Games and played a key role in their defense of their 2011 Pan American Games Gold Medal. He shut out the Dominican national team with eight whiffs in six innings in a win in the opener (Albers relieved), then beat Puerto Rico. In the Gold Medal game, he relieved Albers with one out in the 10th and allowed a two-run double to Tyler Pastornicky but Canada scored three in the bottom of the inning to make Leroux 3-0 with a 0.71 ERA for the Pan Ams. Canada became the second team (following Cuba) to win two baseball Golds in the Pan American Games. Leroux was 4th in the event in ERA (behind Phillippe Aumont, Jake Thompson and Berman Espinoza), 4th in strikeouts (after Lázaro Blanco, Nate Smith and Aumont) and led in wins. The last pitcher with three wins in the Pan American Games had been Cuba's Eliecer Montes de Oca in 1995.