No team has been harder by injuries than the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, and yet they remain in first place in the NL West. They came into Friday with a two-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
Yet another injury is forcing the Dodgers to dip further into their farm system this weekend. Top right-handed pitching prospect Jose De Leon will be called up to make his MLB debut on Sunday.
Dave Roberts confirms that @JDL_87 will start for Dodgers on Sunday.
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) September 2, 2016
De Leon, 24, had a 2.61 ERA with 111/20 K/BB in 86 1/3 Triple-A innings this season around an early-season shoulder issue. MLB.com currently ranks him as the No. 35 prospect in all of baseball. Here are three things to know about the De Leon call-up.
1. De Leon is a major player development success story.
Every player who gets to the big leagues is a development success story. Some have an easier path than others though. Many high draft picks coast through the minors and don’t need much help from the player development staff. De Leon was not one of those players as a 24th-round draft pick.
The Dodgers selected De Leon out of Southern in 2013, and in the minors he added velocity to his fastball and significantly improved his changeup, which was more or less nonexistent in college. It also helped that De Leon improved his conditioning in pro ball.
Turning a 24th-round pick into a quality prospect takes a lot of hard work, and not only by the player. By the coaching staff as well.
2. De Leon will be the team’s 15th different starter.
The Dodgers have been hit hard by rotation injuries this season, which is why they’ve used 14 different starters. That’s tied with the rebuilding Atlanta Braves , Cincinnati Reds , and San Diego Padres for the most in baseball.
Here are the 14:
Kenta Maeda : 26 starts
Scott Kazmir : 25
Clayton Kershaw : 16
Ross Stripling : 13
Julio Urias : 12
Alex Wood : 10
Bud Norris : 9
Brandon McCarthy : 8
Mike Bolsinger : 6
Brock Stewart : 3
Brett Anderson : 2
Hyun-Jin Ryu , Rich Hill , Nick Tepesch : 1 each
De Leon will be starter No. 15 this season. Only twice before have the Dodgers used as many as 15 starters in a season. They used 16 just last season, and they used a franchise-record 19 way back in 1944.
3. Yes, De Leon is eligible for the postseason.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about this every season. As long as the player was in the organization as of 11:59 p.m. ET on August 31, he is eligible to be on the postseason roster as an injury replacement. The only catch is that an injured pitcher has to be replaced by a pitcher, and an injured position player has to be replaced by a pitcher. No mixing and matching allowed.
The Dodgers at the moment have 12 pitchers on the DL. Twelve! Two are definitely out for the season: Yimi Garcia (biceps, knee) and Chris Hatcher (oblique). De Leon could replace either guy on the postseason roster even though he will be making his MLB debut in September. It’s something of a loophole, yes, but De Leon is indeed postseason eligible.
Source: CBS Sports / Dodgers calling up top pitching prospect Jose De Leon: 3 things to know