Prospect Jose De Leon has had a fantastic year in the Dodger organization. He began the year hoping to improve on a dismal 2013 rookie season, and improve he did. De Leon has just been named the Pioneer League's Pitcher of the Year.
In ten appearances with the rookie-ball Pioneer League Ogden Raptors he went 5-0 with a 2.65 ERA, struck out 77 in 54.1 innings and batters were hitting a paltry .217 against him. Then, he was promoted to the Single-A Great Lake Loons ballclub and got better. In four starts he went 2-0 with a 1.19 ERA, struck out 42 batters in 22.2 innings and batters hit only .171 against him.
In Dustin Nosler's great article about him on Dodgers Digest he said this about his dramatic turnaround:
“I’m feeling more comfortable, my delivery is cleaner this year. Those could be factors.”De Leon throws a lively mid-90's fastball, a low-80's slider and a changeup that Nosler reports is his favorite pitch to throw. As he indicated above, he also made some changes to his delivery that has obviously worked out well for him.
On the season, he was twice named the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week. He won the awards for the week of June 23-29 and August 4-10. De Leon then set a Great Lakes Loon club record with fourteen strike outs against Fort Wayne in his second start for the team. BTW, this was two strike outs better than the previous mark held by Clayton Kershaw.
In celebration of De Leon's accomplishment I made the above fantasy card for him. The card uses a photo taken from a Raptors story at MiLB and the vintage 1964 Topps Baseball card design. Below are his career statistics, via Baseball Reference:
In his last start of the year on Friday, Jose De Leon struck out twelve in 5.2 innings pitched. You can watch strike out number twelve in the video below.
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