Chase De Jong Gets The Job Done
LOS ANGELES—In the summer of 2015, the Blue Jays had their eye on a power-hitting prospect out of the Dominican Republic with impressive bloodlines.
But before they could sign Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the Jays traded a pair of minor leaguers to the Dodgers for an additional $1 million in international bonus slots in order to avoid penalties for giving Guerrero $3.9 million.
Eighteen months later, it looks like money well spent for both teams. The 17-year-old Guerrero is already the Jays’ top-ranked prospect—and one of those minor leaguers acquired by the Dodgers has moved closer to reaching his own potential.
The Blue Jays’ second-round draft pick in 2012, righthander Chase De Jong passed on a commitment to Southern California to sign with them. In parts of four seasons in the Jays’ system, De Jong showed promise but hadn’t made his way out of Class A before the trade.
De Jong, 22, went 14-5, 2.86 for Double-A Tulsa this year. He led the Texas League in wins and WHIP, finished second in ERA and fourth with 125 strikeouts in 141.2 innings.
"Chase took some important steps forward in 2016,” Dodgers farm director Gabe Kapler said. "Notably, he added a cutter to his arsenal in late June with Billy Simas’ guidance. He was able to induce weaker contact as a result.
"While making the jump from Class-A to Double-A, Chase was able to lower his walk rate and give up less damage overall. Additionally, the cutter development added to his effectiveness against lefthanded hitters, forcing them to respect the inner third. When they look out over the plate for the fastball, they find themselves sawed off more frequently than they did in 2015.”
• One of the Dodgers’ bigger recent mistakes, Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero has signed to play for the Chunichi Dragons in Japan next season. Guerrero signed a four-year, $28 million deal after leaving Cuba in 2014.
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