- Full name Michael De León
- Born 01/14/1997 in Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 160 / Bats: S / Throws: R
Organization Prospect Rankings
De Leon signed for $550,000 in 2013, then made his pro debut the next year at Double-A when Frisco needed a fill-in for a few days. While the Rangers slowed him down in 2016, he was still one of the youngest players in the high Class A California League as a 19-year-old. Skinny and underweight when he signed, De Leon gained 20 pounds since the end of the 2015 season. The additional strength helped him repeat his swing more frequently and allowed him to drive the ball with more authority. He's not a power hitter, though, and he relies more on excellent hand-eye coordination and a quick, short stroke from both sides of the plate to spray line drives around the field. He is a below-average runner who makes up for a lack of foot speed with a quick first step at shortstop, excellent instincts, fundamentals and a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He has a good internal clock with smooth hands and an average, accurate arm. De Leon's defense carries him right now, but his contact skills could be enough for him to develop into an everyday shortstop. He should be one of the youngest players in the Texas League in 2017.
The Rangers signed De Leon for $550,000 out of the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2013 as a 16-year-old, then decided to push him quickly up the ladder, including a stint in Double-A in 2014 and the Arizona Fall League, where he became the youngest player in AFL history. The Rangers pumped the brakes on De Leon in 2015, keeping him in Hickory for the full season, with quad and hamstring injuries slowing his progress. De Leon has a short, simple swing from both sides along with a sound approach for his age. That allows him to make frequent contact, but he has minimal strength or power, which is why his offensive numbers underwhelm. He doesn't project to hit for much more than gap power, but he should be able to get on base more once he gets stronger. De Leon is a smart, fundamentally sound player with excellent game awareness. While many scouts originally felt De Leon would be better suited at second base, he now earns high marks for his glove. Even though he's a below-average runner, De Leon has a great internal clock at the position, with sure hands and a solid-average arm with great accuracy. De Leon has a chance to be an everyday shortstop, with a promotion to high Class A High Desert likely to open 2016.
A $550,000 signing out of the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2013, De Leon made his pro debut in Double-A on May 11 when Frisco needed a fill-in. A few days later, he went to low Class A Hickory when the Rangers were short there due to injury, and he stuck around until the end of August, when the Rangers bumped him up to high Class A Myrtle Beach to finish the season. After the season, De Leon became the youngest player in the history of the Arizona Fall League. De Leon's rapid rise was more about opportunity than him being a truly elite prospect, however. He has a simple, line-drive swing from both sides of the plate and makes frequent contact, though with minimal power, and maintains a sound approach. De Leon doesn't have flashy tools, but he's a fundamentally sound player with game awareness beyond his years. He's a smart, reliable defender at shortstop, where he has a good internal clock, smooth hands and an extremely accurate arm, though his arm strength is just average. He's a below-average runner, so he's not the rangiest shortstop, with some scouts believing he may end up at second. De Leon has a chance to be a steady, everyday middle infielder, but given his unusual career arc, where he starts 2015 is up in the air.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive Infielder in the Texas Rangers in 2018