Rays Acquire Jose De Leon

Photo courtesy of MLB.com

The Tampa Bay Rays traded one of their best hitters in Logan Forsythe to the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Dodgers were having talks with the Minnesota Twins to try and acquire Brian Dozier, but it stalled out, as the Twins wanted more in return than Jose De Leon.

Rays franchise player Evan Longoria chipped in on the trade and it appears he was not happy about this move by saying “I’m surprised and upset at losing a player, clubhouse presence and friend like Logan. He’s a rare player.”

Now, Jose De Leon is the MLB’s 33rd best ranked prospect and the Dodgers best pitching prospect and second ranked prospect. Erik Neander, who is the Rays Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager was very excited to add De Leon and he spoke about the acquisition by coming out and saying “It was an opportunity we felt we couldn’t pass up as an organization.”

The 24-year-old right-handed starter had a fantastic 2016 season in Triple-A despite only starting 16 games. He missed time with an ankle and shoulder injury. 

In those 16 starts, he compiled a 7-1 record and posting a low 2.61 ERA. He also picked up 111 strikeouts in 86.1 innings of work.

In addition, the youngster did make it to the show last year. He earned two wins and lost zero games, but was hit hard, as he picked up a high 6.35 ERA in 17 innings of work.

Furthermore, De Leon will compete for a spot in the Rays rotation. He will try and join a group that has the potential to be one of the best rotations in Major League Baseball. The group consists so far of Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi, and Blake Snell. De Leon will compete against in house options Erasmo Ramirez, Chase Whitley, and some of the others in the minors that are ready to contribute to the Major League roster.

So Rays fans, his Arsenal features a fastball that sits at 92-94 that can hit 96 mph with life, a low to mid 80’s slider that has some touch to it, and a really nice changeup. He might over time develop a fourth pitch, but so far he is fine with a three-pitch mix.

Finally, the Rays have a big hole in the lineup and at second base with Forsythe departing. They will turn to in house options such as Nick Franklin, Tim Beckham, and Daniel Robertson. Expect Franklin to get the first crack at the job, as he had a fair 2016 campaign by batting .270 and driving in 26 RBIs. He dinged six homers and swiped six bags. He only had 174 at-bats in 60 games at the MLB level. If Franklin can hit .270 next year in a starting role, then his numbers can go up at a good rate.

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