Alex Junior Looking For Bounce Back Season With Staten Island
Alex Junior was the 19th round pick by the New York Yankees in last year’s MLB Draft and was assigned to the Staten Island Yankees.
“It was awesome when I first got selected,” Alex told me on June 13. “I was just really excited to get picked up and to see that it was the Yankees, that’s something that not many people can say and it’s a big dream.”
Junior came to Staten Island and immediately hit some bumps in the road. The major one was how much he was struggling against the best pitchers in the country. He had always been a contact hitter, but found himself striking out in 39% of his at-bats.
“Last year, I just put myself in some predicaments where I didn’t get a chance to put good swings on good balls.”
After spring training in 2019, Junior was not assigned to a full-season affiliate, meaning he would stay behind at the Yankees training facility until the draft, when he would be assigned to a lower-level team. Junior took that as an opportunity to get better and prove he belonged.
“Obviously no one is ever perfect and at this level we are all still progressing but just working on a consistent offensive approach and I worked on being able to replicate swings on a higher standard.”
While in Extended Spring Training, Junior found assistance from seasoned veteran, Yankees center-fielder Aaron Hicks, who helped him with his swing mechanics and gave him the mental approach in the batter’s box to “Just breathe and be calm. Nothing can shake you. You can’t let a bad call or a pitch get to you…you can’t overthink.”
Junior was assigned to the Low Class-A Yankees affiliate, the Staten Island Yankees a few days ago, and looks to continue proving that he belongs in professional baseball.
“I’m really excited. I’ve really been anticipating this season. I’ve been putting a lot of work in during extended and spring training. Just ready to get going under the lights…I just hope this team makes the playoffs. We have a real good club here.”
Staten Island won their first game of the season Wednesday, sweeping the Connecticut Tigers in a doubleheader and Alex Junior was the hero in Game 2, as he drove an RBI base hit to secure the victory and give the Yankees a 6-4 lead while improving Juniors batting average to .400 through the first four days of the season. Though it’s just down the East River, Yankees Stadium is far away from Junior, and only the hardest of workers can make it… but Junior is poised to be the best out there.
“It’s definitely not a sprint. It’s a whole marathon, this thing,” concluded Junior.