When he was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007 as a sixteen-year-old, De Leon showed potential in the batter's box.
His batting average has continued to increase each year, going from .289 in 2008 to .338 so far this season. In June alone he averaged .471, and in the past two seasons has totaled thirteen home runs in a little more than 300 combined at-bats.
De Leon's latest single-run homer sealed the deal for the Yankees in last Wednesday morning's game against the Braves, leaving the final 5-2. But he is not satisfied.
"I'm happy with my performance this season," De Leon said through the help of a translator, "but I want to work harder and take it to the next level."
Since playing in the United States, however, De Leon says that improving his baseball skills is not the biggest issue - language is.
"English is the major difference," De Leon responds politely as he chuckles to himself as if to say "obviously."
He is working to improve all aspects of his game, batting and fielding, and is "always thinking and always working hard" not to let the language barrier get in the way of his game.
It doesn't appear to be an issue this season as De Leon continues to show up at the plate, becoming noticeably more selective with his swings.
Previously, De Leon was thought to be too aggressive and lately he has attempted to gain control of his batting average by picking and choosing which pitches he will go for.
"I didn't hit too much last year," De Leon admitted. "Now, I have a different approach — aiming to the opposite side of the field and being more selective. It has stepped my game up. I haven't gotten more aggressive, but I am smarter with the pitches."
De Leon Has New Selective Approach
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