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Should the Twins acquire Jose De Leon?


Jose de Leon was just released by the Reds.  The former top prospect for the Dodgers, you may recall he was a trade target during the Brian Dozier trade saga.  He wound up getting traded to the Rays instead, had Tommy John surgery, and has lost his control.  After getting traded to the Reds, that lack of control continued, and he gave up a lot of home runs.

He’s only 28, though, and he was outstanding for several years in a row in the minors, rocketing up the prospect lists.  Maybe he will never put it together, but in my view, the Twins should take a flyer on him.  Maybe away from Cincy, and putting some distance between his Tommy John surgery, and he will find his former command.  Any one?

 

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Just looking over De Leon’s minor league, college and Puerto Rican winter league stats.  He’s got a fairly consistent track record across all of those levels; extremely high strikeout rates:  12K/9, 3.1BB/9, 7.3H/9, 0.8HR/9, 3.38ERA, 1.16WHIP, across 1800+ minor league batters faced.  Those numbers are fairly similar across his 350 college batters faced and 140 Puerto Rican winter ball batters faced.

It’s in the majors that he’s seemingly fallen apart:  12.6K/9, 6.6BB/9, 10.1H/9, 2.1HR/9, for an ugly 8.84 ERA and 1.86WHIP.  But that’s across 240 batters faced, and most of that has come in 2019, 2020, and 2021, post Tommy John (lost 2018), the pandemic shortened year, and in Cincinnati.

Now, maybe he will never find it, but I’d put more money on the 90% sterling  track record coming back to the forefront, than the 10% terrible track record being the new norm.

He’s from Puerto Rico, and is a year or two older than Berrios.  He was traded to the Rays for Logan Forsythe instead of to the Twins for Dozier, but we know the Twins wanted him as a part of a Dozier trade.  I say snap him up and give him some of the Happ or Pineda starts down the stretch, and see if Wes Johnson can work a little magic with him.

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18 minutes ago, AlwaysinModeration said:

Just looking over De Leon’s minor league, college and Puerto Rican winter league stats.  He’s got a fairly consistent track record across all of those levels; extremely high strikeout rates:  12K/9, 3.1BB/9, 7.3H/9, 0.8HR/9, 3.38ERA, 1.16WHIP, across 1800+ minor league batters faced.  Those numbers are fairly similar across his 350 college batters faced and 140 Puerto Rican winter ball batters faced.

It’s in the majors that he’s seemingly fallen apart:  12.6K/9, 6.6BB/9, 10.1H/9, 2.1HR/9, for an ugly 8.84 ERA and 1.86WHIP.  But that’s across 240 batters faced, and most of that has come in 2019, 2020, and 2021, post Tommy John (lost 2018), the pandemic shortened year, and in Cincinnati.

Now, maybe he will never find it, but I’d put more money on the 90% sterling  track record coming back to the forefront, than the 10% terrible track record being the new norm.

He’s from Puerto Rico, and is a year or two older than Berrios.  He was traded to the Rays for Logan Forsythe instead of to the Twins for Dozier, but we know the Twins wanted him as a part of a Dozier trade.  I say snap him up and give him some of the Happ or Pineda starts down the stretch, and see if Wes Johnson can work a little magic with him.

His BABIP in 2020 and 2021: .385 and .439.

He’s got a minor league option and four years of arbitration eligibility left.

His post-TJ fastball velocity is up from 91/92 to now 93/95.  He throws 65% fastball, 20% change up, 10-15% slider. He had a curveball that he stopped throwing in 2016.

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Will join those saying yes to a minor league contract.  Twins have lots of talent that needs to be added to the 40-man this year.  With the state of their pitching, should be able to get him interested on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

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He may be "28" but that means he's already at the tail end of his prime, and technically, he'll be 29 in two weeks. De Leon is a bit of an enigma, but it seems to boil down to this: he's got 2 effective pitches, fastball, slider. The changeup doesn't play at the MLB level and 2 pitch pitchers cannot start so he's realistically a bullpen only option. In a pretty SSS (this year and career), De Leon has been effective against RH hitters, but unplayable vs. LH hitters.

I think he'll probably catch on somewhere else, but I don't think he provides value to the Twins. We have better options in our MiLB system and DeLeon has no options next year.

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Some of the posts are suggesting that the Dodgers wouldn't trade him for Dozier. Obviously, we don't know what really went on in the conversations between the Dodgers and the Twins, but I seem to remember the rumor mill suggesting the Dodgers wanted to do DeLeon for Dozier straight up, but the Twins wanted more. It would have been a dumb trade for the Twins at the time, and would have looked even worse in retrospect.

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There is no "only 28" when it comes to a pitcher who has not yet gotten into gear.  This makes me think of someone saying, "He's in 10th grade, but he's only 17."

If you buy into the idea that the Rays are the gods of pitcher development, note they already worked on and later passed on De Leon.

Though I will say I sort of agree that his performance so far seems like the typical Twins-developed pitcher of the past 10-15 years -- where there are years of inconsistency and the window of goodness is frustratingly short.  If we want more of the same, sure let's get him.

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