Dodgers Team News

Former Dodger Top Prospect Puts on Historic Performance in World Baseball Classic

One of the cooler storylines out of the World Baseball Classic involves an old friend. Former Dodgers pitching prospect Jose De Leon is playing for Team Puerto Rico in the tournament. He got his first start on Monday and put on a clinic.

De Leon tossed 5.2 perfect innings en route to the WBC’s first-ever perfect game, a combined effort that ended in the eighth inning thanks to the event’s 10 run mercy rule. Notably, it ended on a Kiké Hernandez walk off hit in the bottom of the 8th.

Jose struck out 10 batters and helped lead PR to its second win in the event.

De Leon at one point was a top-50 prospect in baseball for LA. He made his major league debut in Dodger blue in 2016, striking out 9 batters over 6 innings. The Dodgers sent JDL to the Tampa Bay Rays for infielder Logan Forsythe in January 2017 where his career began to trend downward.

He’s battled injuries — including needing Tommy John surgery in 2018 — and ineffectiveness since then, tossing just 31 innings at the big league level since 2017. He owns a 9.58 ERA since being traded and has bounced around from the Rays to the Reds to the Red Sox to the Blue Jays. He most recently latched on with the Twins on a minor league deal.

Given the long journey, Monday night’s performance was even more special for Jose.

“I’ve been through so many obstacles in my career — so many things. To have a moment like this in front of my family, my people… wearing Puerto Rico across my chest makes it 100 times more special. I’m walking on cloud nine right now. It’s a moment I’ll cherish forever.”

Shoutout to Dodgers reporter Juan Toribio for the coverage in Miami.

It’s an incredible story of dedication and perseverance for a guy that has an 8.44 career ERA but still has the hunger to want the ball and to succeed as a big leaguer. We’ve followed De Leon for years since before his Dodger debut and up until this point. He’s never waivered in his desire to pitch at the big league level. And even now, at 30 years of age and eight years since being listed as the 24th best prospect in baseball by, he’s proving that just maybe there’s a chance at a second act as a big leaguer.

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Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!

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