Due to the 15 inning game the Rays were forced to make a move to give them more length out of the bullpen over the next few days. With Erasmo Ramirez scheduled to make the start a day after throwing an inning and picking up the save there wasn’t really a choice.
The Durham Bulls scheduled starter for today was Jose De Leon. Calling him up made too much sense. De Leon was already on the 40 man roster. He was scheduled to start today, so he was fully rested.
Jose De Leon is still building up strength after having a minor injury push back his start to the minor league season after throwing for the Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic. He made one start for since being assigned to the Bulls going four innings and allowing four runs while striking out four and walking none. He was faced with a 75 pitch limit and would have been scheduled to go around 90 pitches tonight.
De Leon received a cup of coffee last September to help the injured Dodger’s rotation. He struggled posting a 6.35 ERA and 6.97 FIP in 17.0 innings over four starts.
In the minors he has consistently posted 30% plus strikeout rates while limiting walks to 6-8%.
De Leon features a four pitch mix of four seam fastball, changeup, slider, and curve. Last September his fastball averaged 92.42 mph. His changeup and slider both come in 82-83. His curveball is in the mid to upper 70s.
De Leon threw 66% fastballs with the changeup his primary secondary choice at 21%. He sprinkled in the slider at 7% and the curve at 6%. He will need to get ahead and not forced into as many fastball counts as he was in his first exposure to major league hitters.
The Rays were in love with De Leon’s profile so much they were willing to trade Logan Forsythe straight up. His changeup is a weapon. He fits the Jake Odorizzi mold of pitch repertoire. He induces a lot of flyballs especially of the weak infield variety and picks up a ton of strikeouts.
With Erasmo Ramirez scheduled to stay in the rotation we don’t know if this is a brief preview of the future for Rays fans or if he will transition to the rotation over the coming weeks with Ramirez going back to the bullpen.