(Photo Credit: Norm Hall/Getty Images)
After a five week absence, Dodgers’ right-handed pitching prospect Jose De Leon returned to the hill for Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, dominating the Round Rock lineup in three full innings of work at Dell Diamond.
De León was perfect in his latest effort, retiring all nine batters he faced while striking out six. Righty Carlos Frias appeared in long relief and held the Express to one run and four hits over the final six frames as OKC came out on top, 7-1.
De León made just his second career Triple-A start after sitting out more than a month with right shoulder soreness. He was limited to three innings Tuesday as he made his first appearance since striking out nine in five frames of near-perfect ball against New Orleans on May 3. He has now pitched eight scoreless innings with 15 strikeouts for OKC so far this season.
The Oklahoma City media was kind enough to share a brief highlight to give fans a taste of JDL’s fastball.
The 23-year-old De León faced an Express lineup that consisted of seven players with MLB experience, and at one point punched out five consecutive batters.
De León, who is currently ranked as the Dodgers’ second-best pitching prospect, was held back in extended spring training at the beginning of the year while ailed by a tender ankle, coupled with an effort by management to conserve innings in hopes of staying fresh for the later months of the season.
De León’s fastball, which has nasty, late movement and sits in the 93-96 MPH range, is by far his best weapon. His slider rates a little above-average but continues to improve. His changeup is certainly his best off-speed offering, as he often uses it as his strikeout pitch or when behind in the count.
Oklahoma City first baseman Zach Walters drove in five of the Dodgers’ seven runs with a three-run homer in the first inning and two-run blast in the ninth. His five RBI were the most by an OKC player in a single game since Corey Seager drove in six last May against Salt Lake.
OKC left fielder O’Koyea Dickson went 3-for-3 with a double.
Wednesday is a travel day for Oklahoma City, as they return home to face Nashville in a five-game set beginning with a doubleheader on Thursday. De León tentatively slots back into the rotation for the final game of the series against the Sounds on Sunday, June 12.