2. Jose De Leon
Jose De Leon went from a 24th round pick in 2013 by the Los Angeles Dodgers to finishing the 2016 season as the Rays’ number two ranked prospect. De Leon proved himself quickly in the Dodgers’ system as he spent the entire 2016 season in AAA going 7-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 16 starts.
He made his major league debut with the Dodgers in 2017 and pitched in 17.0 innings giving up 12 earned runs and striking out 15 batters.
Prior to the 2017 season, the Dodgers traded De Leon to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Logan Forsythe. De Leon began the season as the Rays’ third-best prospect and was ranked number 28 in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline. He started the season with discomfort in his elbow but powered through after a DL stint.
He made his major league debut with the Rays on May 29. He allowed three runs in 2.2 innings pitched. Not long after that, he was placed on the DL with a strained lat. The elbow flared up in August of that year and hit the DL for the third time.
In March of 2018, he was diagnosed with a torn UCL and required Tommy John surgery. His path to the big leagues just hit a roadblock. His 2018 was over before it started. One of the game’s top prospects was on the shelf.
De Leon was able to make it back in May of 2019 and pitch in 56.0 minor league innings. On August 14 he returned to the major league roster and pitched in four innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out seven.
Opportunity in Cincinnati
Prior to the 2020 season, De Leon was traded to the Reds in a space-making move ahead of the 40-man roster deadlines. The Reds received a healthy blue-chipper for cash and a player to be named later.
Jose De Leon is entering his age-27 season and looks to live up to the hype and talent for the Reds.