Jose De Leon to AA, Julio Urias to miss a month, Erisbel Arruebarrena update

Jose De Leon is headed to AA (according to his father) after two months of basically owning the California League. In seven starts for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, De Leon totaled 58 strikeouts and just eight walks in 37.2 innings, giving him a 1.67 ERA, 1.42 FIP, and 1.26 SIERA. He induced almost twice the amount of swinging strikeouts (30.4%) as league average, and his runs metrics were well better than twice league-average (3.97 ERA/3.52 FIP/3.63 SIERA). I mentioned in the Down On The Farm recap that I felt there was little point in keeping in in A-ball, and he has only performed better since I wrote that, so this seems like a logical promotion.

Dodgers farm director Gabe Kapler was effusive in his praise for De Leon’s progress:

“If ever a man deserved a promotion, it was Jose,” said Kapler. “He was the best pitcher in the Cal League, and it wasn’t close. Upon elevating him, he was tops in strikeout percentage and among the league leaders in walk percentage. On top of his on-field prowess, he exemplified everything we stress about powerful teammate behavior. He led by example and demonstrated the work ethic necessary to mine the best version of himself.

“Since Jose was selected in the Draft, he’s improved his command, his changeup has become a true weapon and he’s clearly been deceptive, as evidenced by the swings and misses he consistently induced in Rancho. He’s competitive, fiery and protective of his teammates. He is what we perpetually search for in player development.”

Also, as much as I’d hate to see De Leon go, with Corey Seager and Julio Urias likely off limits in trades, De Leon is the kind of prospect with helium that could land the starting pitcher the Dodgers need for the stretch run. If not, he profiles as a potential mid-rotation starter, which is exactly the type of arm the Dodgers could use at the moment.

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Speaking of Urias, he’ll be missing a month of action after undergoing a cosmetic surgery operation on his left eye.

Dodgers top pitching prospect Julio Urias will undergo elective cosmetic surgery on his left eye to repair a defect and be sidelined for about a month.

Urias will have the procedure — peri orbital benign mass removal — on May 28 in Phoenix. He will resume baseball activity in the middle of June and is expected to be back in games by the end of the month.

Why not do this after the season or before the season, right? It seems like the team planned it this way to give his arm rest in the middle of the year.

“Obviously, one of our main intentions — independent of the procedure — is to protect Julio and limit his workload,” said Kapler. “We’re mindful of pitch and innings totals for every pitcher in our organization. Our aim is to take a long view approach to Julio’s progression with laser sharp focus on long-term health. A blow midseason made sense to us.”

Not going to try to predict what happens three months from now, but the innings saved on his arm would sure seem to increase the chances of a late-season call-up to the pen or something.

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Cuban signees Hector Olivera and Pablo Millan Fernandez are on their way to the Dodgers organization, but the most common question we’ve received is basically, “Hey, where the heck did Erisbel Arruebarrena disappear to?”

Well, he’s been in extended spring training and remains there, probably because of unspecified attitude issues.

It seems to have been even more frustrating for Arruebarrena, who has fallen off the radar partly because of attitude issues. An occasional big leaguer last year, he’s been sent to extended spring training this year and has already been suspended once, in 2014.

“[Arruebarrena is] a different personality, a work in the making,” said Engel. “We just have to stick with him, and we will.”

While it doesn’t seem like Arruebarrena is necessary anymore, he’s still a plus (with plus-plus upside) defender at short. Thus, even if his bat is unplayable, he helps out by providing depth, especially in case Jimmy Rollins does go belly-up this year. And if the guy could just make contact more frequently, who knows? But either way, in addition to whatever attitude problems need sorting, they also need to complete the retooling of his swing they started last year.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times