Over the past two or three seasons, much of the talk involving the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top prospects centered around Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias, and deservedly so.
However, the group has quickly been joined by Jose De Leon, the Dodgers’ 24th-round selection in the 2013 draft. He spent his debut season with Rookie Level Ogden and Arizona League Dodgers, and has quickly ascended the Minor League ranks.
Last month De Leon was ranked the fifth-best right-handed pitching prospect in the Minors.
Shortly after, he was among the initial 16 players extended a non-roster invite for Spring Training this year.
That number of non-roster invitees now sits at 20, with Brandon Beachy, Chase De Jong, Caleb Dirks and Jacob Rhame recently named to the group.
This year marks the first time De Leon will be part of big league camp. In an interview with Dodger Talk host David Vassegh on AM 570 LA Sports, De Leon shared his excitement and goals for Spring Training:
“I can’t wait to go out there and pitch and have fun. That’s all I’m worried about, I’m not too nervous. I just want to to out there and compete and throw strikes. You only go to Spring Training for the first time once. I’m just going to enjoy it and have fun. It’s going to be a really nice experience because I’m going to have my parents watch me for the first time.”
The 23-year-old Puerto Rican native also said he hopes to take advantage of the opportunity by learning from Clayton Kershaw
“[I’ll try to learn] as much as I can. Even if I’m not too close to him, I’m going to watch and see how he goes about his business, and just try to emulate him.”
De Leon began last season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, where he went 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and averaged 13.9 strikeouts per nine innings over seven starts (37.2 innings).
He then joined Double-A Tulsa, making his debut on May 22. In 16 starts with the Drillers, De Leon was 2-6 with a 4.11 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.