Just a little while after adding four players from within the system to the 40-man roster, the Reds are adding a new face, as they are acquiring José De León from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for cash considerations and a player to be named later.
But don’t just take it from me:
You may remember the name José De León from when he was a rising prospect star in the Dodgers system. I certainly do. It’s been several years since he’s had that kind of buzz, and back in 2017, De León was shipped to Tampa Bay straight up for Logan Forsythe. He then had to undergo Tommy John surgery in early 2018, and only was able to manage 55.1 innings pitched for the Rays and Durham in 2019 (only four Major League innings).
Still, De León at one time possessed the kind of stuff that made him a top 25 prospect in all of baseball. Assuming that he regains a modicum of health, there’s an opportunity for the Reds staff to unlock some of the potential that made him once such a promising star.
In a small sample from 2019, he was still able to fan nearly 13 batters per nine innings in AAA, and that came mostly as a starter. Thirteen of De León’s 17 appearances for Durham came as a starter. He walked nearly five per nine, as well.
Now 27, the Reds could still continue to tinker with De León as a starter. Or, if they’re really feeling the pressure to win now (they should be), maybe José could contribute to a bullpen that still looks to need some help for the 2020 season. I think De León has an option remaining, so that gives the Reds even more leeway to work.
Potentially, Kyle Boddy just got another reclamation project.