Injuries this season forced the Los Angeles Dodgers to lean on Julio Urias and Jose De Leon, the organization’s top pitching prospects. While Urias was with the club throughout much of the year, De Leon was a late entry to the rotation.
He made his Major League debut on Sept. 4, throwing six innings and allowing four runs (three earned) while collecting nine strikeouts. De Leon faced the Padres a second time on Thursday night in what was just his fourth career start.
The outing in some regard was viewed as De Leon’s final audition to be part of the Dodgers’ rotation for the National League Division Series. He struggled and was removed with one out in the third inning after allowing five runs (three earned).
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the young right-hander was a ‘long shot’ to make the NLDS roster. While De Leon’s season has likely come to an end, and on somewhat of a down note, he values the time spent with the Dodgers.
“It’s been a great year, even though it’s not finishing the way I wanted it to. But I’m grateful for the opportunity,” De Leon said Thursday.
“It’s been a blessing. I’ll report to Spring Training next year with more confidence knowing I already pitched here. This year I didn’t know what to expect. Honestly, I didn’t think it was going to happen this fast.”
De Leon missed the first month of the regular season due to an ankle injury that forced him to remain in extended Spring Training. De Leon then missed another month after his 2016 debut with Triple-A Oklahoma City, because of right shoulder soreness.
In 16 starts with OKC, De Leon went 7-1 with a 2.61 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 86.1 innings pitched. He’s 2-0 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts with the Dodgers.