Today, as we continue to rollout the MASNSports.com top 20 O’s international prospects, we find out yet again that teams can get big talents sometimes out of modest signing bonuses.
Some players sign late in the process as late bloomers and beyond that, it is just hard to project what someone at age 16 will look like and play like three, four, and six years down the road.
It is also quite exciting to see a pitcher ranked so highly now on this list as left-hander Luis De León, age 20, is the No. 2 prospect on the list for 2024.
He was signed by the club for just $30,000 in December of 2021 out of Barahona, Dominican Republic. He had an ERA of 5.14 in 28 innings in 2022 in the Dominican Summer League.
But last year, over six games in the rookie-level Florida Complex League and 10 for Single-A Delmarva, he went a combined 5-1 with a 2.01 ERA in 53 2/3 innings. It was a nice breakout performance by the lefty. Even after he moved up, he allowed just a .177 batting average and 2.39 ERA in his first go-around in full-season ball with the Shorebirds. De León walked 30 with 67 strikeouts (11.2 K per 9) and had a 1.30 WHIP. Among all O’s farm pitchers with 50 or more innings last season, his ERA was second-best.