Rays Prospects

Tampa Bay Rays: Jose De Leon Hammered But That Is Okay

By David Hill
Feb 18, 2017; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jose De Leon (87) poses for a photo during photo day at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 18, 2017; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jose De Leon (87) poses for a photo during photo day at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jose De Leon was excited about making his first start on the Major League side of Spring Training yesterday. Although it did not go as planned, that is okay for the Tampa Bay Rays prospect.

In all likelihood, Jose De Leon will need to have a superlative performance in Spring Training to break camp with the Tampa Bay Rays. Given the Rays rotation depth, and their spending limits, it is expected that they will seek that extra year of control before bringing De Leon up to the Majors to stay.

Nonetheless, the Rays will give De Leon every opportunity to force their hand and make him a part of the rotation at the start of the year. He made his first ever start on the Major League side in Spring Training yesterday, and outing that he had been looking forward to. He was going to get that chance, and with the Boston Red Sox on the schedule, it would be a solid test.

Unfortunately, the results were not what De Leon had hoped for. He did not last an inning, recording only two outs. The Red Sox battered the young starter for four runs on two walks and two hits. As Boston put 19 runs on the board, De Leon was not the only pitcher to struggle.

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The performance was a rough one, but it was also one that De Leon can learn from. He said that he did not locate his fastball well, leading to those problems. As he threw only 16 strikes in his 29 pitches, his assessment that his command was off certainly rings true.

In the end, it is fine that De Leon struggled. He is going to have those bumps in the road as he looked to reach his potential. It is only from these moments, where De Leon does not have his best stuff, that he can make progress. By learning what he needs to do in order to get the opposition out, he can become the pitcher that he is expected to be.

The command will come as the Spring progresses. And De Leon will be able to spot his pitches better, allowing his change to be the weapon that it can be. Yet, when he learns how to use his other offerings when his fastball command is not there, that is when De Leon can start to emerge as a future star.

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Jose De Leon had a rough outing yesterday, and that is perfectly okay. It is a learning experience for the young Tampa Bay Rays prospect, and hopefully, a step forward in his development.

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