Rays top prospect is close to 100% after his second rehab start for High-A Charlotte.
Rays right-hander Jose De Leon is recovering from a flexor tendon strain in his forearm. On Tuesday morning the former 24th-round pick started for the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Florida State League.
The team’s No.3 prospect, according to MLB.com, went five innings without allowing a hit. He struck out five and walked two picking up the win in the Stone Crabs’ 6-1 win over the Dunedin Blue Jays.
De Leon was all smiles after shagging balls in the outfield at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on Wednesday. Rays fans have a lot to be excited for with this 24-year-old.
I had the chance to speak with him before today’s game in Dunedin, here’s what the blonde-haired righty said about his rehab.
“Pretty close to 100%. Out there I’m feeling pretty good. I’m just looking for more stamina, it was an 11 o’clock game. I got tired a little bit”
It is very rare for pitchers to take the mound at 11 o’clock in the morning so there is certainly something to that. Plus, temperatures reached 93 degrees on Tuesday.
De Leon envisions his next start to be on Sunday, however, he could not say if that start would be for the Stone Crabs or not. It appears that the door is open for his next outing to be at either Double-A Montgomery or Triple-A Durham.
March was an interesting month for the native of Puerto Rico. He had a forgettable spring training debut (0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4ER) on March 2. Then played for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic on March 18 against Venezuela. The bond with his Puerto Rico mates still holds firm. I asked him why he still sports the blonde-themed hair style and he was very quick to respond with “I have to.”
Expect the Rays to proceed with caution on De Leon. The demotion of Blake Snell shouldn’t have any weight on De Leon’s Rays debut. Erasmo Ramirez is perfectly capable of making a handful of starts for the club. Don’t be surprised, however, if the Rays call on him at some point mid-season.