The Cincinnati Reds don’t have too many players active in the various winter leagues being played around the world right now, but on Tuesday they saw José De León put together an impressive outing in Puerto Rico for the Criollos de Caguas as he racked up 12 strikeouts with just one walk across five innings as he picked up the win.

Some quick math tells us that to complete five innings of work that a pitcher would need to record 15 outs. For 12 of those outs to come via the strikeout is getting a whole lot of work done without the help of the defense behind you. In the first inning, José De León struck out the first two hitters he faced before former Red (for all of two days in spring training of 2018) Kennys Vargas grounded out to end the inning.

In the second inning we saw De León strike out the side, and after a leadoff double given up to Brian Navarreto in the third inning, he followed up by striking out the next three hitters, too – pushing his total on the day to eight in just three innings. The fourth inning began with two more strikeouts before a walk – the only one he would allow on the day – but the right-handed starter rebounded by striking out Danny Ortiz to end the threat.

The fifth inning was the only one in which José De León didn’t strike out multiple batters. After a fly out to center to begin the inning, it was once again Brian Navarreto coming through as he doubled for the second time in the game. After striking out Jesmuel Valentin for the second out of the inning, De León allowed an RBI single to Jeremy Rivera that turned a 5-0 lead into a 5-1 ballgame. Rivera, however, was thrown out at second base to end the frame.

For José De León it’s been a strong start to the Puerto Rican Winter League. He’s now made two starts and thrown 9.0 innings between the two games. He’s only allowed one earned run, given up just three hits, he’s walked five batters, and he’s struck out 20 of the 34 hitters that he’s faced.

7 Responses

  1. Stock

    There is no doubt that De Leon has the stuff to pitch in the 8th and 9th innings. But since TJS he has averaged 6BB/9IP. That is two times what it needs to be. If he can throw strikes he can be useful.

  2. AllTheHype

    Pretty impressive. He had the stuff pre-TJ. No reason he can’t rediscover it. He saw an uptick in velo in 2020. I would be curious to know if he’s finding even more gas in these outings.

    • Doug Gray

      More gas, no, but still sitting mid 90’s like he was this year? Yes.

      • AllTheHype

        Nice. Well we can only hope that De Leon is the 2021 Antone for the Reds. Although he wouldn’t nearly be so out-of-left-field as Antone was this year.

        Reds might need some surprises this year to contend, given the start to the off season.

  3. Justin

    The way Krall brought up De Léon when discussing the 5th starter in a recent interview was telling. I had previously read (maybe on here) positive reports from Prasco Park.

    I have a hunch that the Reds think they have Castillo 2.0 on their hands. He’s my early pick for the 2021 starting rotation. If anyone can’t get a guy like De Léon on track, it’s our pitching department.

  4. Jack

    He seems to have great stuff and potential which suggests the Reds will trade him soon for a 33 year old pitcher who sucks and was recently on waivers.

  5. RojoBenjy

    Did you see this, Krall? Time to trade this guy for Scott Feldman while there’s still time!