The Puerto Rican Winter League began their playoffs on Saturday. And for Cincinnati Reds pitcher José De León it was just more of the same. The right-handed pitcher made four starts during the shortened regular season for Caguas this year and allowed six earned runs in 17.0 innings. That’s good for a 3.18 ERA. For context, the league ERA this year was 4.59. De León picked up 31 strikeouts and had 10 walks – though only one game did he struggle with the strikezone.
Saturday saw José De León dominate RA12 (yes, that’s the team name). This year, with two teams opting out of participating, all four teams in the league qualified for the playoffs and the RA12 squad was outmanned in their first season. They went 2-16 on the year and were outscored 139-47 in that stretch. Kyle Boddy’s prediction to be the Reds break out pitcher in 2021, De León threw 6.0 shutout innings, allowing just three hits, walking no one, and striking out 10 more batters as he led his team to a victory in the playoff opener.
While the playoff stats and regular season stats don’t count together, let’s cheat and go ahead and add them all up to take a look at what José De León has done this winter for Caguas.
You would prefer the walk rate to be a tad lower than that, but looking beyond that you’re just seeing pure domination from the righty. There’s a chance he’s competing for the 5th starter spot in the spring, but if he doesn’t get that role, he’ll likely slide into the bullpen for the Reds where he can utilize his mid-90’s velocity and plus change up. He has no options remaining, so he’ll either need to remain on the roster or be exposed to waivers with the hopes he would clear them if Cincinnati wants to try and keep him around.
Former Red alert
They are playing winter league baseball all around the world right now. Over in Australia former Red Donald Lutz got out to a big start this weekend as he clubbed two home runs for Canberra in the Australian Baseball League.
That’s good news. I realize it’s winter ball. But, I have been in his corner ever since we acquired him. I am looking for him to be a solid addition to the staff this year.
I was high on him to, but had soured on his prospects. It would be nice if he is ready to make an impact on the pen in 21. We have 3 guys that most of us feel comfortable with AG, TA, and LS. But after that it’s full players with out options remaining, including De Leon. If 1, or 2 of those guys De Leon, Ramirez, Hoffman, Romano pan out then that would give the Reds 4 – 5 solid bullpen options.
Then you have the players with options (taxi squad) crew. Santillan, Gutierrez, Kuhnel, Bailey, Hendrix, O’Brien
I’m optimistic about the pen, but it still has a lot of question marks.
I have been following the updates of present and past reds in the winter leagues. Are the former players all trying to get back or do they just like to play? Any chance any of these guys get an invite? I’m thinking Juan Francisco and jumbo Diaz as examples of guys who were pretty legit major leaguers for a stretch and seem to still be playing at the winter ball level pretty well.
Juan Francisco is a free swinging lefthanded hitter coming up on his age 34 season. Perhaps a pinch hitter or a DH if it comes back to the NL.
I watched Francisco for a year at AA-level. He made Edwin look like a good fielder. We’ve got plenty of that type to go around the league.
Oh, there’s zero chance he could be anything but a DH these days.
Some guys are trying to get back into affiliated baseball. Some guys are just having a good time playing baseball for a few months.
Possible late inning reliever if walks can be controlled.
I think the high walk rate and lack of major league hitters that he has a track record against translates to maybe the last bull pen spot imo.