AKRON, Ohio — RubberDucks outfielder George Valera is making a name for himself in Akron. He's known for his swing and ability to manage the strike zone, but it's more than his discipline at the plate that sets him apart.
It's a part of his natural talent.
"I just have fun out there. I don't really think so much," said Valera.
"I'm just trying to stay grounded and take care of today," Valera said.
And part discipline.
"I think I work pretty hard," says Valera.
All of that has allowed Valera to climb the Guardians' farm system ranks. As of Sunday, he's the number 41 overall prospect in Major League Baseball.
"Whatever I can do to help my team win is what matters to me," says Valera.
The Guardians top hitting prospect is coming off a tremendous month of May, which was highlighted by five home runs in the span of seven days.
"I'm super thankful I had a good May. I gotta keep working. Just take care of the day and keep it going," says Valera.
He has no plans to slow things down now, although his success did have a slow start. Between a broken hamate bone and the COVID-19 pandemic, Valera played just 58 games in his first four years as a pro.
"There's things that you go through in life that you have to, so it teaches you a lesson, and I view it as that," says Valera.
Perspective has carried Valera through his 21 years. He was born in New York but has spent his life going between America and the Dominican Republic, where his parents are from.
"I think it makes you a better baseball player, but I think it makes you a better person, just understanding where everyone's from."
Valera believes this influence benefits him on and off the field.
"We get to be with so many guys from around the world and everybody's so different. We're all in the same clubhouse, where you get to learn from each other, and I think that's super important."
Valera is currently hitting .283 with an OBP of .393. His 8 home runs and 34 runs scored both lead the team. He's also driven in 32 runs, working mostly out of the three spot in the lineup.
Carly Mascitti is a sports anchor at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @carlymascitti.
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