Leonora Growing Up

Leonora hit two more home runs at Instructs

Ericson Leonora seemingly has been in the farm system forever, spending his first three seasons in the Dominican Summer League. However, he just completed his first season in the United States as a 19-year old and was one of the more productive hitters in the Gulf Coast League. With injuries behind him and now back at his more natural outfield position, he believes he's growing up as a player.

"I feel very good about the year I had," Leonora said through the help of a translator. "Obviously it's good when you [are among the league leaders] in home runs and RBIs, but not just that but overall it was a very good year for me."

He finished his first U.S. season second in the Gulf Coast League in home runs [7] and tied for second in RBI [30] a year after clubbing eight home runs and driving in 42 in the Dominican Summer League. But with just a .227 average this year, he knows he still has work to do.

"The hardest thing was getting adapted to the pitching, it's very different from down there in the Dominican Republic," he said. "It helped having the culture here [at the minor league complex] and it helped me in the end."

A big reason for spending three seasons in the Dominican Summer League was a nagging knee injury that kept him in and out of the lineup. Another reason, however, was being moved from centerfield to second base and then back to the outfield.

"I love playing the outfield," he said with a huge grin. "It helps me at the plate playing the outfield. In the outfield I don't even have to think about the plays that I have to make, it's just natural. It gives me more time to be a better hitter and think about my at-bats."

While he is extremely happy to be back patrolling the outfield, he knows he still has work to do there and that was one of the main focuses for him at Instructs.

"I've been working on my footwork in the outfield, that has to get better, and the accuracy with my throwing. Hitting I've been working on going up the middle and not opening up so much. I like being calm at the plate."

He just completed a very solid Instructional League performance that not only included a couple of more home runs but some more hits up the middle and to the opposite field. He wants to continue that approach going forward to make better use of his power-speed combination, but he feels he's ready to tackle the higher levels sometime soon.

"Obviously this is what I'm here for, to move up to the next league and that's why I'm working hard to make that jump. With God on my side it's going to be good. I've seen myself develop and the Yankees have given me the chance to develop over the years. I've grown up a lot and as a player too," he concluded.

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