Friday, September 02, 2016

Welcome to the Dodgers, Jose De Leon!

Woo Hoo!

It's about frick'n time!  I had made the above two fantasy cards weeks ago (in anticipation of this), and was worried that I might not be able to share them til next year.

Word has hit the street that the Dodgers will be calling up 24-year old righty Jose De Leon to pitch this coming Sunday against the Padres.   Via a tweet by Bill Shaikin:
Born in Isabela, Puerto Rico, Jose De Leon was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the 24th round of the 2013 draft out of Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Currently, he is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the clubs current #2 prospect and the 35th overall in in the game.  Baseball America ranks De Leon as the games 25th best overall, and Baseball Prospectus has him as the 38th best.  Below is a snippet of their notes on him:
MLB Pipeline:  De Leon's stuff significantly improved in pro ball after he upgraded his conditioning and mechanics. He works at 92-94 mph and can reach 96 mph with his fastball, which has riding life. De Leon's changeup progressed so much in 2015 that it has become his best secondary pitch, and he also has a low-80s slider that's effective.

De Leon's control and command also have gotten better since he signed. He has gone from an unknown to a potential No. 2 starter in two years, and he may not need much more time in the Minors. Though he has missed time in 2016 with an ankle injury and shoulder inflammation, he has maintained a similar strikeout rate while making the jump to Triple-A.

Baseball America (from the mid-season report):  Limited to seven Triple-A starts thus far, he still misses bats with premium stuff. 

Baseball Prospectus (from 2016 mid-season report):  If his above-average three-pitch mix continues to play up with deception and extension, and his extreme bat-missing tendencies pair with decent command to offset his vulnerabilities to the long ball, it would fuel actualization of his strong no. 3 ceiling.
In Triple-A this year De Leon has started 16 games, going 7-1 with an 2.61 ERA.  In 86.1 innings pitched he has struck out 111, walked 20 and has given up 9 home runs.  In his last start this past Sunday he struck out 13 Colorado Springs batters in 7.2 scoreless innings, and has enjoyed double digit strike outs over his past three straight starts.  He has become a part of an masterful one-two punch in Oklahoma City that featured lefty Julio Urias along side him.  Per his pitching coach at OKC (via Darrell William at the Advocate):
“He's kicking the door in,” Herges said. “I've been texting back and forth with (Dodgers officials), and I don't know what's keeping him here.”
BTW, Jacob Unruh at The Advocate recently wrote a great article on Jose titled; "Here's how Southern's Jose De Leon made himself a prized L.A. Dodgers prospect."  It is worth a peek (Link Here).  Below is a snippet:
 He was 30 pounds heavier than when he was drafted, he had just had a tough debut the summer before with a 6.96 ERA in two levels of rookie ball and he was stuck at Camelback Ranch in extended spring training.

Some instructors didn’t even know his name.

“I didn’t feel like I belonged,” De Leon said. “I saw everybody in shape with athlete bodies. I was just another number. I didn’t like that, because at Southern I was the guy. Changing from being the guy to nobody, it was tough. “

Then De Leon met Hector Berrios, a fellow Puerto Rican who had played in the minors and was instructing pitchers for the Dodgers.
In celebration of Jose reaching the Majors I made the above two fantasy Baseball card of him.  On the left I used a photo grabbed from Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016 and the 1971 Topps Baseball card design.  On the right I used a photo grabbed from Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2016 and the 1963 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are his career stats, via Baseball Reference:

UPDATE:  Per a Dodgers press release:
De León, 24, will make his Major League debut this afternoon as the Dodgers’ starting pitcher vs. San Diego after posting a 7-1 record with a 2.61 ERA in 16 starts at Triple-A this season. With OKC, De León limited opponents to a .194 batting average with a 0.94 WHIP, while striking out 111 against only 20 walks in 86.1 innings. In his last six starts at Triple-A, De León went 4-0 with a 1.30 ERA (6 ER/41.2 IP), and enters today’s start with a 17.2-inning scoreless streak and having struck out 40 batters since his last walk on Aug. 12. The native of Puerto Rico has a 23-13 record with a 3.35 ERA in 67 games (64 starts) in four minor league seasons after being selected by the Dodgers in the 24th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Southern University.

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