Having a farm systems that’s ripe with talent is one of baseball’s greatest gems. It’s the diamond in the rough that few are able to unearth on a consistent basis. It appears that the Los Angeles Dodgers have anther diamond ready to be unveiled.
23-year old Puerto Rican right-hander Jose De Leon has been a steady riser through the minor league system. He was a 24th round pick back in 2013, signed for just $35,000, and has since turned into a monster on the mound.
He’s been so good so fast that MLB Pipeline put him in elite company as they released their top right-handed pitchers for 2016 list.
From MLB dot com’s Jim Callis:
5. Jose De Leon, Dodgers
De Leon has skyrocketed from his lowly Draft status and a 6.96 ERA in his pro debut to leading the Minors with 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings and reaching Double-A in 2015, just two years later. De Leon’s stuff and command have gotten a lot better since he improved his conditioning and mechanics, giving him a riding 92-96 mph fastball, a plus changeup and an effective if inconsistent slider.
In 76.2 innings at Double-A last season, De Leon fanned 105 batters and walked only 29. With his improving mechanics, conditioning, and command, it appears that De Leon might reach The Show very soon. Maybe even in 2016 as a bullpen guy late in the season.
There’s no telling what De Leon’s ceiling is, but to even be put as the fifth best right-hander in the minors is pretty special. Especially when that list includes names such as Lucas Giolito, Tyler Glasnow, Alex Reyes, and Jose Berrios.
The future is bright for De Leon. Watching him reach that apex is going to be a treat for fans considering how far he’s already come.