Beltre fine-tuning his approach

BAKERSFIELD, CA - After a slow start in High-A, Engel Beltre is beginning to right the ship. The 19-year-old centerfielder is batting .305 with three doubles, two triples and one home run in May. He recently compiled an 18-game hitting streak, which ended on May 23. Chris Hadorn chatted with the talented youngster.

Chad Hadorn: You had a slow start to the season, but in May you're batting .305 and you recently had an 18-game hitting streak. What's working for you now? What do you attribute your success to?

Engel Beltre: The last month, it was a slow start, but this month they have me on a program with Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan and this manager (Steve Buchele) here. Now I'm just trying to do that program. I think that's good, now it made me better this month. That's why I am hitting better.

Hadorn: What are you doing to be more selective?

Beltre: Just trying to get a good pitch. I think I'm a good hitter. Right now in the beginning, when I get down in the count, I'm more selective with the pitches.

Hadorn: Mitch (Moreland) tells me you keep everybody loose, that you like to have fun.

Beltre: Yeah, that's my personality. I grew up in a good area. All the time in my family, they were always like that. They always tell me if you're doing bad just keep your head up, something good is going to come. That's what I hope right now. Trying to do the best and trying to get better everyday. Something (good) is going to come is going to come one day.

Hadorn: From my understanding, you lived in New York City in the Bronx?

Beltre: I was born in the Dominican and I grew up in New York. I moved to New York when I was like eight-nine (years old). I went to school and everything. Then I was going to draft in New York when I went to Dominican to sign, like 16 and a half, young. It was a good deal to go over there to the Dominican and sign young.

Hadorn: Do you think coming here and learning the language has helped you make a smooth transition?

Beltre: It helped me know a lot of people and help me be with guys other than me and talk with them. Learn the stuff now in my career, I'm young. And be with other guys that help me and talk with them, that's a good thing.

Hadorn: Do you help other Dominican players?

Beltre: Yeah. When I came here, the first thing they told me, Scott Servais, Jon Daniels, all those guys, they told me we traded you here, we want you to be one of the leaders of the Latin guys. They told me then, they told me that, "you just got to do the right thing." I told him, "I will be able to do that no problem." That's what I am doing right now is trying to be one of the leaders of the Latin guys. If they need help with something, I go (help them). I ask for them. Whatever they need, they ask me something.

Hadorn: When you lived in New York, did you ever go to the Yankees games?

Beltre: Yeah, I went like five times to the Yankees games when I was little. The first time I went, a from the Little League, he saw something from my talent that he went to my house and talked to my mom, "hey, this kid has good talent. I want him to be with me in my league". The first time I went to a Yankees (game), that was him who gave (tickets) to me. I went with my mom and him. We had a good time. I was like, "one time maybe I will be here playing." That's a good feeling.

Hadorn: You have a lot of range and you like to run. When you get to a center field that's only 355 feet, does it make it less fun to play center?

Beltre: No, for me, it's the same. I know it's a short wall. For me, it's the same. You've just got to be ready every ball and every pitch. Be ready for a fly ball, just gotta be ready to catch and run.

Hadorn: Do you play more shallow here?

Beltre: I play a little bit swallow. And balls behind me, then I can go run. I already know how to play here. I get comfortable easy.

Hadorn: Since you're an all-around player, what's your favorite thing to do on the field? Is it a home run, is it run the basepaths, throw a runner out, catch a ball?

Beltre: My favorite thing for me is my first at-bat, trying to get a good count, trying to see a lot of pitches. Another is to get a chance at a stolen base, that's a good thing for me, that's what I like. My favorite is (to) be on-base for the guys who can bring me in.

Hadorn: Last winter, did you play in the Dominican Winter League?

Beltre: I played a few games over there (Azucareros del Este). I was like, "WOW!" When I was little I was born in Dominican and then I went to winter ball. Other times I went there every summer and go see those guys play, those Dominican guys (to see) how they play. Wow, that's good. I just thought maybe one day I will be there. Last winter ball, it was great for me to play there, this game. They gave me a good chance.

Hadorn: Your next dream is probably to play in the Serie del Caribe?

Beltre: That's my next goal, trying to make that. It's not easy to make that, the Serie del Caribe. I just try to do good, do the right things so they can choose me and I can go there. I will be proud to go over there.

Hadorn: What Dominicans have helped you along the way?

Beltre: Esteban German. Over there, in winter ball, he was the captain of the team (Azucareros del Este) over there in La Romana. He told me a lot of things. Just don't be shy and just play your game. That's the same game everywhere. Just be smart and do the right thing. That's it.


Future Rangers Top Stories