Tampa Bay Rays: Catching Up with the Top Prospects
Jose De Leon (33rd overall)
Jose De Leon was expected to be a part of the Tampa Bay Rays starting rotation sooner rather than later. It was just a matter of setting back his arbitration clock, and then he would take over as the Rays fifth starter.
At least, that appeared to be the plan. Instead, after a solid performance for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, De Leon ended up on the disabled list with a forearm issue. He has recently begun throwing batting practice, and a return to the mound may be coming soon.
Once that return happens, the Rays have to hope that De Leon will pick up where he left off in the Dodgers organization last year. He had a 7-1 record with a 2.61 ERA and a 0.938 WHiP in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League last season, striking out 111 batters and issuing just 20 walks in 86.1 innings. It was quite the impressive performance.
Should De Leon be able to replicate that success for Durham, his time in the minors may quickly come to an end. While he is considered a part of the Rays future rotation, his acquisition was also made with an eye towards this season. Matt Andriese has pitched relatively well, but he is not close to the talent that De Leon could be.
Once Jose De Leon makes his return to the mound, he could find himself with the Tampa Bay Rays in a relatively short amount of time. The future could be coming soon.