#8: Jose De Leon, RHP, 26
Battling injuries since being acquired, this right hander will focus on a return to the bigs in 2019.
Height/Weight: 6’2″ / 220
Drafted: | Signed: 24th, 2013 (724th)
Pitch Grades (Via FanGraphs):
FB velocity: 90-92, T-94
The Rays traded Forsythe away for Jose De Leon a couple of years ago. But, since the trade De Leon has lacked arm health battling a number of injuries. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery and should be ready to pitch at the major league level by mid-season. FanGraphs ranked him as the 22nd best prospect in the Rays system.
Off-speed: When discussing the return of his velocity FanGraphs said this about his stuff, ” De Leon will have two plus pitches in his fastball and a goofy changeup, which has weird, horizontal action. He throws a ton of strikes and has two viable breaking balls.”
Delivery: De Leon relies on a pretty standard delivery. It is repeatable and rather mechanically sound. It isn’t max effort and should ease his return from Tommy John surgery.
The last time he was truly healthy was 2016 with the Dodgers AAA club.
7-1 // 16G/16GS // 86.1 IP // 2.61 ERA // 111K/20BB // .94 WHIP
19.2 IP // 6.86 ERA // 17K/10BB
Thoughts: Prior to being traded to Tampa Bay, De Leon was a top-5 prospect in the Dodgers system and the Rays figured they were getting a middle of the rotation starter. With the rotation pretty much figured out for 2019, De Leon will likely have to earn his money out of the pen for the Rays, but injuries do happen and he could find himself starting once again.
FanGraphs video of De Leon pitching: