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
Pinstripes Plus Top Stories
Acevedo ProgressingTRENTON, NJ -- His numbers down in high-A Tampa earlier this season might not had been proof positive of it but right-hander Domingo Acevedo had been making progress in his entire…
Pinstripes PlusYesterday at 8:57 PM
Yankees Prospect Power RankingsHere are the top 20 performances by the Yankees' prospects in the long-season leagues. This is our fourth installment of the Power Rankings for the 2017 season.
Pinstripes PlusMonday at 8:57 PM
Wade Feels Really PreparedSCRANTON, PA -- Tyler Wade has gone from steady and intriguing shortstop prospect in his younger days to now one of the most consistent performers and near priceless utility-man…
Pinstripes PlusSunday at 8:40 PM
Cortes Grinding It OutTRENTON, NJ -- Left-hander Nestor Cortes was one of the true bright spots in a loaded Yankees farm system last year, leading the organization in starter ERA and striking out better…