Leslie Gasslin Nacar Mejias
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 216 lb.
Leslie Nacar played four seasons in the minor leagues then starred in Spain.
Nacar was 8-2 with a 3.50 ERA for the 2000 DSL Giants with 81 strikeouts in 75 innings; he was three wins shy of the Dominican Summer League lead. Coming stateside with the 2001 AZL Giants, the right-hander was 0-3 with five saves, 35 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings and a 2.54 ERA.
Despite his productive '01, Nacar was back with the AZL Giants for 2002. The teenager had a 2-1, 3.29 record while allowing a .221 average. In 2003, his third year with the club, he was 0-1 with nine saves, a 0.95 ERA, .136 opponent average and 31 whiffs while walking 3 in 19 innings. He led the Arizona League in saves and was named the All-Star right-handed relief pitcher. Baseball America named him the 11th-best prospect in the league, the #2 pitching prospect. He was picked by the Kansas City Royals in the AAA phase of the 2003 Rule V Draft.
After dominating the Rookie leagues for four years, Nacar never got a chance to see how he would do against higher levels, as injury derailed his US career.
Nacar had a 6.98 ERA in 17 games for the 2005-2006 Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League (having pitched briefly there in 2003-2004, with 2 ER in 2 IP). He was pitching for Spain's Marlins Puerto Cruz by 2006. He was 5th in the Division Honor with a 1.30 ERA that year while going 3-1. He gave up 6 runs in 4 1/3 IP and was 0-1 for the 2006-2007 Cardenales. In 2008, he had a 10-1, 1.00 record with 44 hits and 11 walks in 90 innings while whiffing 80. He beat out Homer Baez by .12 for the ERA lead, while finishing two wins behind leader Ivan Granados. In the 2008 European Cup, he whiffed 13 in a win over the Antwerp Royal Greys, allowing three runs.
Leslie improved to 16-1 in 2009 though his ERA rose to 1.89. He struck out 141 in 133 1/3 innings and had a WHIP under one. He was 8th in the league in ERA , led in strikeouts (13 over Baez) and led in wins, one ahead of Pedro Pablo Belmonte. During the 2009 European Cup, the right-hander started against the Rouen Huskies. He allowed four hits and two unearned runs in eight innings while whiffing 15 but fell to Keino Perez, who had a shutout. He tied Remigio Leal for second in the Nettuno Cup in whiffs, two behind leader and teammate Audie Nunez.
In the 2010 European Cup, he again came up big, saving Antonio Noguera's upset win over host DOOR Neptunus and then shutting out the Hoboken Pioneers. He allowed six hits and one run in 12 innings for the event, fanning 16. He also played some left field, going 3 for 10 with a walk, two runs and two RBI. He tied for first in wins and saves, had the lowest ERA of any pitcher who allowed an earned run, was second to Dushan Ruzic in innings pitched, ranked 4th in opponent average (between Diegomar Markwell and Sandy Patrone) and led in strikeouts (5 more than Chris Di Roma or Josh Neitz). In the 2010 Spanish season, he had a 10-5, 2.06 record and fanned 152 in 113 1/3 IP. He was 9th in the league in ERA (between Belmonte and Pedro Peraza), 6th in innings (between Belmonte and Granados), second in strikeouts (4 behind Juan Lopez) and tied for third in wins with Belmonte and Lopez.
Nacar did not do as well against Neptunus in the 2011 European Cup, giving up 11 hits, 3 walks and 6 runs in a complete game loss, though he did fan 8. He was 0 for 7 with 3 whiffs at the plate in the Cup. In the Division de Honor season, he hit .222/.255/.356 and was 4-0 with a save and a 1.29 ERA in a reduced role. He finished third in ERA behind Trevor Caughey and Ricardo Hernandez and 5th in opponent average (.157).
Leslie was 12-3 with a 2.51 ERA in Spain in 2012, fanning 188 in 132 2/3 IP. He led in strikeouts (36 more than Juan Campos), tied Belmonte for second in wins (two behind Caughey), was second in innings (behind Campos) and 6th in both ERA and opponent average (.222). He got Spanish citizenship by this point as he appeared for that nation in the 2012 European Championship. He turned in a strong outing to beat Greece (0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 9 K in 7 IP), teaming with Sammy De Los Santos on a shutout. He was okay against the Czech national team as well (8 H, 2 BB, 2 R in 6 2/3 IP) and left with a 3-2 lead but got a no-decision in Spain's 6-5 victory.
In the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, Nacar made one appearance for Spain. In the finale against Israel, he relieved Eric Gonzalez in the bottom of the third with two on, none out and a 3-2 lead. He got Shawn Green on a fly then Josh Satin grounded into a double play to escape the jam. He had trouble in the 4th, though, walking Jack Marder and Charlie Cutler and hitting Jake Lemmerman; Noguera relieved and allowed all three inherited runners to score. Spain wound up beating Israel in extra innings to earn a spot in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In the Classic itself, Nacar made one appearance, relieving Noguera in the 9th inning of a loss to eventual champion Dominican Republic with two on and none out. He fanned Edwin Encarnacion and walked Hanley Ramirez before Nelson Cruz was retired. Granados then relieved to end the inning. In the 2013 Spanish season, he had a 9-4, 2.26 record with 148 K in 107 2/3 IP. He finished 7th in ERA (between Peraza and Lopez), was 4th in opponent average (.187), 5th in innings, 5th in wins and third in strikeouts (after Ely Izturriaga and Hernandez).
Nacar had a stellar 2014 campaign at 14-0, 0.81 with only 43 hits in 100 1/3 innings, striking out 130. He led the Division de Honor in ERA by .43 over Larry Suarez, tied Zael Honora for the most wins and led in opponent average (.130, .035 better than Honora). He also tied Lowuin Sacramento for third in strikeouts and was 7th in innings pitched. In the 2014 European Championship, he turned in two quality starts for Spain. He went the distance to beat Croatia in a mercy-rule game (6 IP, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K). Against Germany, he allowed 6 hits, a walk and 3 runs in 7 innings and left with a 3-1 deficit; Gonzalez relieved him and Spain went on to win with an 8th-inning rally.
In '15, the right-hander again had a sub-1 ERA at 0.91; he was 10-2 with 127 K in 109 innings. He was second in ERA (.08 behind Granados), third in average against (.182), tied Kerson Trinidad for third in innings pitched, led in strikeouts (two ahead of Yosue Castellano) and tied Honora for second in victories (one behind Carlos Sierra). He then was signed by Italy's Rimini club for the stretch run, replacing the struggling Peter Parise late in the playoffs. He pitched one playoff game (4 BB, 1 R in 2 IP). In the 2015 Italian Series, though, he dazzled in his lone outing, with three perfect innings in game 3 of Rimini's upset sweep to the title. After the season, he was named MVP of the 2015 Division de Honor.
In the 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, he relieved Sierra in the 7th with a 5-2 deficit against Colombia. He retired Mauricio Ramos, Steve Brown (on a strikeout) and Luis Martinez in order. In the 8th, though, he allowed hits to Carlos Vidal and Harold Ramírez and intentionally walked Dilson Herrera. Andrés Pérez relieved and let all three inherited runners score, but two of them were unearned. Back with the Marlins for 2016, he was 9-3 with a 2.47 ERA and only 20 walks in 91 innings. He was 6th in the Division de Honor in strikeouts (94), second in wins (3 behind Yorfrank Lopez) and missed the top 10 in ERA by .97.
He pitched well in the opening round of the 2016 European Championship, closing out Jorge Balboa's 12-1 win over Greece and tossing six shutout innings against France to avenge a Spanish loss in the WBC Qualifiers earlier in the year. He allowed five hits and four walks while hitting two against France, but Andrés Pérez took over with the shutout intact. In the finale, he got the nod against the Dutch national team, with Spain appearing in their first European Championship finale since 1955. He allowed a two-run single to Nick Urbanus in the second then stranded the bases loaded when he fanned MLB vet Yurendell de Caster. Noguera took over in the third and Spain rallied to force extra innings before losing, 3-2.