After Working With Greg Maddux, Does Chase De Jong Belong On Radars?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Dodgers are loaded with higher profile prospects, in part thanks to their deep pockets and ability to go out on the international market.  Some of those have panned out and others have struggled, but their presence often helps to cause some other prospects to fall under-the-radar.  One example could prove to be Chase De Jong, who is coming off arguably his best start of the season.

Pitching at Double-A he tossed 7.0 innings of shutout, one-hit ball, striking out 8 and walking 1.  Owner of a career 3.73 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, it’s easy to ask why we should care about just one outing against a less than impressive lineup (six of the players were hitting below .240).  Chances are we shouldn’t, but he has been working with Hall of Famer Greg Maddux of late (specifically prior to this past outing) and that’s going to grab our attention.

Here’s what De Jong had to say about that work (click here for the article):

“I was really getting to my back side, really tilting the ball to the bottom part of the zone and then working with Greg about pitch selection and execution and also reading swings,” he said. “That was my homework for the week, and obviously, I was able to put in the time.  Anything that that guy says, you’re obviously going to work just because of the body of work that he’s put together. Being with the Dodgers, we have what seems like an endless amount of resources, the amazing pitching minds that we have on staff. They really set you up to succeed.”

A former second round draft pick of the Blue Jays (the Dodgers acquired him for their three international bonus allocations last season), the scouting report entering the year wouldn’t have been too promising.  Here’s how MLB.com talked about his stuff:

“De Jong is more about polish than power, with his downer curveball qualifying as his lone above-average pitch. He gets good downhill plane on his 88-92 mph fastball, but the pitch lacks life and may not miss many bats at higher levels. His fringy changeup shows some fade and could improve if he used it more often.”

He’s obviously all about control, with 9 BB over 32 IP this season and an overall 2.0 BB/9 in the minors.  That said the number is up from years past, so we’ll have to see if he can continue avoiding walks against more advanced hitters.

De Jong also doesn’t have a history of generating groundballs (0.70 GO/AO), though he had 6 ground outs vs. 3 fly outs in this recent outing.  It’s something to watch, because being able to maintain an improved mark in that regard would go a long way.

He’s never going to be a sexy prospect, but at 22-years old and pitching at Double-A means he could arrive quickly for a team that has faced a lot of questions in its rotation.  Will the work with Maddux carry over into his next start?  And the one after that?  And beyond?  Time will tell, but the results after one session at least puts him onto our radars.

We shall see, but at this point at least keep an eye on him and see what he does his next time out.

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Baseball Reference

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