The Bulls Rotation Might Have Gotten Even Better
The Tampa Bay Rays made another trade on Monday night, dealing second baseman Logan Forsythe to the Los Angeles Dodgers for RHP Jose De Leon.
At 24 De Leon is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, as MLB.com ranks him the second-best prospect in the Rays system, seventh-best right-handed pitcher in baseball and the 33rd overall prospect. In 2016 the Puerto Rican native went 7–1 with a 2.61 ERA in 16 Triple-A starts, before going 2–0 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts for the Dodgers.
For his minor league career, De Leon is 23–13 with a 3.35 ERA, while averaging 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings. A season ago, he punched out 111 batters in 86 1/3 frames at the Triple-A level.
When looking at the Rays’ big league rotation, it still appears they’ll open the season with Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi, Blake Snell and either Matt Andriese or Chase Whitley. Should the big club open the year with a combination of those five, De Leon would most likely be tabbed for a Durham rotation which will be made up of some combination of the following: 2016 IL strikeout champion Jaime Schultz, Bulls 2016 Pitcher of the Year Austin Pruitt, Rays sixth-ranked prospect Jake Faria, 2016 Southern League ERA-leader Chih-Wei Hu, 2016 Southern League Pitcher of the Year Ryan Yarbrough, Rays 14th-ranked prospect Taylor Guerrieri and returner Justin Marks, who allowed one run in nine innings at the big league level in 2016. (Not to mention Brent Honeywell, the 40th-ranked prospect in baseball, could make a run at the Durham rotation as well.)
Even before the acquisition of De Leon, the Bulls were poised to have a good pitching rotation. Now with his addition, Durham could be even deeper at that spot.