Nine things to know about new Rays RHP Jose De Leon
Nine things to know about new Rays RHP Jose De Leon, acquired Monday night from the Dodgers:
* Full name Jose Eugenio De Leon, listed at 6-2 and 190, born and raised in Puerto Rico, attended Southern University and A&M College, from where he was a 24th-round draft pick in 2013 and signed for $35,000. That's the same school, per baseball-reference.com, that produced Hall of Famer Lou Brock and Vida Blue among others.
* Dodgers boss Andrew Friedman said to the Times of De Leon: "Jose is a tremendously talented pitching prospect. That part is obvious, but what made it so difficult to include him in this trade is his makeup. That combination gives him a great chance to reach his tremendous potential. He's elite at missing bats and is essentially major league ready."
* MLB Pipeline immediately ranked him as the Rays No. 2 prospect, behind only INF Willy Adames and ahead of pitchers such as RHP Brent Honeywell (No. 3), RHP Jacob Faria (6), and RHP Chih-Wei Hu (7).
* He tweeted after the deal was announced from his @JDL_87 account:
"Can't find the words to thank the @Dodgers, teammates, coaches & fans. NOW.. taking the mission to @RaysBaseball. Beyond excited #OnAMission"
* His 2016 season was interrupted by two injuries: He missed the first month of the Triple-A season due to a minor ankle injury, then made one start and was sidelined for another month with what was descrived as shoulder inflammation. He pitched well and showed increasing veloicty after his return from the DL, and his overall numbers for Oklahoma City were 7-1, 2.61 ERA with a 0.94 WHIP and 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
* He wore No. 87 for the Dodgers.
* The son of a lawyer and a teacher, he took the scholarship to Southern - even though he didn't know much English - rather than a $20,000 bonus to sign with the Brewers and start playing pro ball in the Dominican Republic, per the Advocate newspaper.
* He made significant improvement in the minors, adding velocity while improving conditioning. In 2014, his second pro season, he broke Clayton Kershaw's Class A Great Lakes single-game strikeout record with 14, then made more progress in 2015 when he led the minors with 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings. His 33 percent strikeout rate in 2016 was the highest by any Triple A pitcher with at least 15 starts since 2012, per Fox Sports.
* De Leon works primariy with his fastball and changeup. He has a slider for this third pitch that can be improved, and also throws a curveball. Even though he posted a 6.35 ERA in his four big-league starts, he struck out 15 in his 17 innings, including nine Padres in his debut,