Reds: Ranking the most likely replacements for injured starter Wade Miley

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tejay Antone (70) throws a pitch in the second inning of the MLB Cactus League Spring Training game.
Cincinnati Reds At Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tejay Antone (70) throws a pitch in the second inning of the MLB Cactus League Spring Training game. Cincinnati Reds At Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training /
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Jose De Leon #87 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch.
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA – FEBRUARY 28: Jose De Leon #87 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

2. José De León, Reds right-handed pitcher

And then there were two. José De León came to the Cincinnati Reds last season with lofty expectations. The right-hander was one of the top prospects in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays organizations, and both those ball clubs are well regarded for their drafting and development capabilities.

However, something just wasn’t right with De León last season, and it was likely that the right-hander hasn’t yet fully recovered from his previous injuries. De León underwent Tommy John surgery in March of 2018 and returned to the field in 2019. However, most fans concede that few players fully recover from that surgery until two, and sometimes three years after going under the knife.

De León struggled in last year’s 60-game campaign. One could argue that the shortened spring, restart in the summer, and lack of a minor league season hurt De León more than any other player on the Reds roster. The right-hander appeared in five games, had a massive 18.00 ERA, 2.833 WHIP, and allowed more runs than any other Reds reliever other than Nate Jones, who pitched in 21 games.

Do not expect a repeat performance from José De León in 2021. De León has now appeared in three Cactus League games, and thrown three innings in each of his last two outings. Wednesday night versus the Kansas City Royals, De León struck out eight batters, allowed two runs, and walked three.

Whether or not Wade Miley returns for Opening Day is irrelevant to José De León, as the Puerto Rico native has the stuff to beat out Michael Lorenzen for that coveted fifth spot in the rotation. But, De León has competition, and ranks just behind another Cincinnati right-hander.