Speedy Vallejo developing with the bat

An outstanding defensive player with game-changing speed, Clinton second baseman Jose Vallejo has shown signs of improving at the plate in just his second season as a switch-hitter. Lone Star Dugout features the 20-year-old native of the Dominican Republic.

Clinton second baseman Jose Vallejo has earned a reputation as both one of the fastest players and one of the best defenders in the Texas Rangers organization.

Vallejo, who is also an outstanding bunter, is 28-for-30 in stolen base attempts this season. He realizes the importance of using his game-changing speed to his advantage.

"I work on my legs and quickness very hard over the offseason," said Vallejo. "I know my game is to get on base, use my speed, and score runs."

While Vallejo has worked extremely hard to develop the small ball aspect of his game, he has also turned himself into a switch-hitter over the last two years.

A natural righty, Vallejo is beginning to settle into hitting from the left side of the plate.

"It felt a little weird in the first year," said Vallejo of becoming a switch-hitter. "But now, in the second year, I feel a lot more comfortable."

Vallejo's offensive game is currently a work-in-progress, but he may be the organization's best defensive player. The second baseman credits his hard work and confidence for his success.

"I try to work on my quickness and to get better in general during batting practice," said the native of the Dominican Republic. "I have great confidence in my hands."

The switch-hitter received his first major honor when he was named to the Midwest League All-Star team last month. Vallejo, who hit a triple in the game, was just thankful for the opportunity.

"One of my goals over the offseason was to make the Midwest League All-Star team," said Vallejo. "When I found out I had made the team, I just thanked God and I was grateful for it."

Though the 20-year-old plans to play winterball in his native Dominican Republic this offseason, he spent last winter playing in Hawaii with fellow Rangers prospects John Mayberry, Emerson Frostad, and John Whittleman.

"Playing in Hawaii was great," he said. "It was beautiful there. I got a lot of experience playing there and it has helped me a lot for this year."

Vallejo also experienced an earthquake from his high-rise apartment building while in Hawaii. The second baseman says that is one of the reasons he may not return.

"I was in my room," said Vallejo. "When I realized it was an earthquake, everybody was out of the apartment or down in the lobby. I just took off running. That's one of the reasons I might not go back next year."

Regardless of where he plays over the offseason, Vallejo will continue to work hard, as he believes he has the potential to play in "Las Grandes Ligas".

"I just want to get better because I believe I have the ability to play in the major leagues," said Vallejo. "I'm going to work hard to get there."

Special thanks to Ivan Izquierdo for helping translate the interview


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