When Jose De Leon starts for the Dodgers on Sunday in the series finale against the Padres, he will join an ever-growing list of rookie contributors to the LA pitching staff in 2016.
De Leon will be the fifth Dodgers pitcher in 2016 to start in his major league debut, joining Kenta Maeda (April 6), Ross Stripling (April 8), Julio Urias (May 27) and Brock Stewart (June 29). If five rookie debuts seem like a lot, it’s because it is.
Even if we remove the 28-year-old Maeda, who joined the Dodgers with seven full seasons of experience in Japan, having four rookie starting pitchers make their debut is a ton. No Dodgers team has had more than two such debuts since World War II, when the 1944 Brooklyn club saw starters Ben Chapman, Frank Wurm and John Wells make their debuts.
The four previous debuts in 2016 for the Dodgers have ran the gamut from Maeda’s six scoreless frames in San Diego, to Urias unable to get out of the third inning in New York. On the whole, the quartet put up a 3.86 ERA in their opening games, with 18 strikeouts and 10 walks in 21 innings.
Though the Dodgers have lost three of the four games, the club is 31-24 in games started by rookie pitchers this season, with those starters posting a collective 3.98 ERA while averaging 5.35 innings per start.
De Leon’s start on Sunday will be the Dodgers’ 56th start by a rookie in 2016, tying the 1995 club for the most rookie starts in a season since the franchise moved west in 1958. That mark will be broken on Monday, when Maeda is expected to start against Arizona.
Time: 1:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA