Over the past few years, the Orioles have worked hard to store leads through draft, international signings, and trades, bolstering their minor league system into one of the best in the sport. These days, the Baltimore system sports headliners like Adley Rutschman, but also considerable depth, in the form of exciting players who have the chance to climb into the club’s Top 30 – and make an impact. on the big leaguers – in the near future.
Think of it as the result of Baltimore expand efforts on the international market, after years of avoiding Latin America under previous regimes. All summer at Orioles.com and MLB Pipeline, we’ll spotlight these prospects, many of whom are about to begin their professional careers in earnest.
In this episode meet infielder Isaac De LÃ©on:
Date of Birth : 07/11/2001
Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Height: 6 feet 3 inches
Weight: 210 pounds
Position: SS / 3B
Ranking of prospects: Unclassified
MLB ETA: 2025
MLB comp: Erik Gonzalez
What is its backstory?
A natural shortstop, De Leon plays with his dyed bleach blonde hair in honor of his idol, the Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor. Growing up in the baseball home of Boca Chica, De Leon marveled at Lindor’s ease of playing the game, his obvious talent, and the positive energy he brought to the field every day.
“He’s the player I really imitate, and [I] also try to imitate everything I see of him, âsaid De Leon through Orioles team translator RamÃ³n AlarcÃ³n. âHe looks happy. He looks like he’s having fun. No matter what happens, he looks in a good mood. And he’s playing great games.
Plus, Lindor can hit. It has always been De Leon’s favorite part of the game, ever since he fell in love with baseball at the age of 7. He started training seriously in his early teens and then at 16 – boom! A growth spurt has made De Leon one of the most sought-after prospects in the 2018-19 international signing class. Now with the ability to reach the Majors comes an added perk: the chance to potentially meet and compete with Lindor.
“I haven’t had the chance to meet him yet, but I would love such an opportunity,” said De Leon. âI would definitely like to compete with him. You really want to compete with the best, and I think he’s one of the best.
What are his tools? (20-80 rating scale)
De Leon was one of the first seven-figure 2018-19 International Class engagements before the initial deal fell through and he signed for $ 275,000 with the Marlins. Miami sent him to the Dominican Summer League, where he reached .256 with 13 doubles and more goals (38) than strikeouts (36) at the age of 17 in 2019. Tall and lanky in his mid teens, De Leon filled in considerably in the two years since signing, adding several inches and over 40 pounds to his frame. The Orioles acquired him in August 2020 as a player to be named later in the deal with Richard Bleier.
De Leon is already on the bigger side for the shortstop, but he’s moving well and showing excellent hands and a strong arm, leaving some to think he can stay in the job for the long haul. Otherwise, De Leon is athletic enough to play anywhere on the pitch, with third base the most likely profile due to his throwing ability and flashes of raw power. As with many young players, the offensive question is whether he will be able to refine his approach and strike consistently in the playing action.
De Leon’s DSL experience gives him an edge over many new international signs, which did not play in competition last season due to the pandemic. Still, this year will be important for his offensive development after more than a year of absence at bat in competition. If he continues to complement himself and can refine his approach, De Leon has a chance of reaching the big leagues on the road as a utility player with some right-handed power.
How did he get into the organization?
The Orioles made five deals in the 2020 season, racking up nine trading prospects for veterans Mychal Givens, Tommy Milone, Miguel Castro, Hector VelÃ¡zquez and Bleier. The Marlins were surprise contenders looking for help from the reliever box when they targeted Bleier, who has spent part of the past four seasons as one of Baltimore’s most trusted relievers. The O’s announced that they had acquired De Leon as a trading PTBNL on September 18, 2020.
âI was very surprised,â De Leon said. âIt was something I didn’t expect. Fortunately, since I was little, I have been taught to play hard, no matter what.
What do they say about him?
âWhen we saw Xander Bogaerts as a child, we thought he would make it to third base. And he’s doing fine. People were trying to get Jhonny Peralta to move throughout his career, and he played short for 15 years. â¦ I don’t know if De Leon will be a shortstop at the end. By the time he’s 24 or 25, he might be too big and strong. – The Director of O International Scouting, Koby Perez
The pandemic has delayed De Leon’s schedule, although he competed in the minicamp at the Dominican Orioles Academy and extended spring training into 2021. The plan now is for De Leon to make his debut for one of their two Gulf Coast League teams this summer, a natural progression given the full year of DSL action under their belt.
âBy becoming a pro, I learned that with the signing of this first contract, there were more responsibilities. âYou have to be responsible for right and wrong. This is something that I have definitely learned: you have to be a professional on and off the pitch. With the Orioles, I learned to control my emotions. I learned not to let them get the better of me and to focus on the main goal.