Cincuenta y uno


Jose DeJesus has the lowest cap brim and one of the liveliest fastballs in the National League. That’s a frightening combination for opposing hitters, who are probably unsure if the wild young righthander even sees them. And with 73 walks allowed in 130 innings last year, maybe he doesn’t.

After being obtained from Kansas City for Steve Jeltz before the ’90 season, DeJesus began the year at AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre. It was there that Phils’ minor league instructor Jim Fregosi helped lighten the towering righthander’s load. Fregosi told him to forget about the hitter, and DeJesus took the advice literally. He pulled his cap brim down so far that it hid his eyes, creating a tunnel between him and the catcher’s wide glove. “Tunnel vision” is the right term: usually, DeJesus couldn’t even remember what a given batter last did against him or even how he pitched him. With his new style, DeJesus was still wild, but he was also very tough to hit, holding opponents to a .211 batting average after his June recall to Philadelphia.

DeJesus has one great pitch: a high, hard fastball with a little sideways slide on the end. He can throw it to either corner. Unlike many dominant fastballs, it produces more fouls than swings and misses, and induces more ground balls than strikeouts. It was also more effective against lefties than it was against righties last year. DeJesus throws a slider, but as with the fastball, control is a problem. To help him cut down his walks and set up his fastball, DeJesus is scheduled to learn a change-up from Phils pitching coach Johnny Podres.

DeJesus is easy to steal on as he is slow delivering to the plate out of the stretch. His ungainly follow-through hampers him in fielding the ball. He has a good batting eye and should become a passable hitter, although his bunting is awful.

DeJesus’ record last year was deceiving; he won nearly every game he had a chance to win. The Phils gave him four or more runs of support seven times, and he was 6-0 in those starts. In his other 15 starts, he received two or fewer runs to work with, and was 1-8. With his brim down, his fastball riding up and in, and better control, DeJesus should break double figures in wins in ’91.

–from THE SCOUTING REPORT: 1991, STATS, INC./John Dewan, editor, Don Zminda, associate editor


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