Sunday, August 21, 2016

Here's how Southern's Jose De Leon made himself a prized L.A. Dodgers prospect

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma — Jose De Leon knew little to no English. He was a little pudgy — baby fat as some called it — and he was in a new world.

A freshman in his first semester at Southern University in 2010, De Leon was wide-eyed and struggling. Baton Rouge was different from Isabela, Puerto Rico, and he missed his family.

“I was lost,” De Leon said.

Then he stepped into the classroom of an aging history professor who possessed a deep Southern accent. Many students dropped the class, citing an inability to understand the professor.

De Leon moved closer to the front of the room.

“I was going to stay there because if I end up understanding him I could understand anybody,” De Leon said. “By the end of the year I was understanding.”

That was the first sign of what De Leon could do if he applied himself.

Four years later, De Leon became a “teacher’s pet” in a baseball classroom, taking the necessary steps to rise from the 24th-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers to a prized pitching prospect currently in Triple-A Oklahoma City.


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