Great Lakes Loons RHP Jose De Leon struck out 14 batters, including nine in a row, in his team’s 5-1 win over the Fort Wayne TinCaps on Tuesday.
It was only his second start since being promoted from the rookie-league Ogden Raptors earlier this month, but it was one for the record books. In his six innings of work Tuesday, De Leon set a new Loons record for strikeouts in a game, breaking the old record of 12 set by LHP Clayton Kershaw in 2007 and tied by LHP Victor Garate in 2008 and LHP Greg Wilborn in 2010.
De Leon also came close to matching the Midwest League record of 10 consecutive strikeouts, set by Burlington Bees RHP Art Groza in 1966 and matched by Dayton Dragons RHP Daniel Renken in 2011.
De Leon has appeared in 12 games (10 starts) this season, split between Ogden and Great Lakes. He is 7-0 with a 2.31 ERA, 98 strikeouts and 19 walks in 66.1 IP. He didn’t walk anyone in either of his two Midwest League starts.
De Leon wasn’t listed among the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top 30 prospects in this year’s Baseball America Prospect Handbook, but here is what Baseball America had to say about the 22-year-old righty in its August 15 Prospect Hot Sheet:
With a young pitcher, a tweak here or there, or a new pitch can often make a dramatic difference. A year ago, De Leon, a 24th-round pick out of Southern in 2013, was way over his head in the Pioneer League. But over the offseason, he got in better shape, and the Dodgers moved him from the third-base side to the middle of the rubber, which allowed him to be more direct to the plate with his cross-fire delivery. Pair that with a jump in his velocity (he now pitches at 92-96 mph) and De Leon is a force to be reckoned with. He’s allowed four earned runs in his last 37 2/3 innings and dominated in his Midwest League debut, allowing one run on three hits while striking out seven in six innings.
De Leon’s Midwest League debut was against the Bowling Green Hot Rods last Thursday.
Matos drives in six for Rattlers
Third baseman Sthervin Matos hit a grand slam and drive in six runs for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who rallied for two runs in the 9th inning to beat the Clinton LumberKings 10-9 on Tuesday. He joined the team Monday after being promoted from the rookie-league Helena Brewers.
LumberKings DH Tyler O’Neill, the reigning Midwest League offensive player of the week, also homered in the game. He now has 13 HR and 35 RBI in 45 games with Clinton this season. He is batting .284.