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Del Valle’s Leadership is Due to Experience

05/24/2017 10:39 AM -

Contact: Austin Anderson
219-882-BALL ext. 229

Audio Interview: 

Jaime Del Valle certainly has a presence behind the plate and in the batter’s box. So far this season, it is no different. He has been behind the plate in two of the RailCats’ three wins, and is hitting .308 with 3 RBI’s in as many games.

But Del Valle also has a presence beyond the diamond as well. The 27-year-old certainly understands his leadership role on the roster.

“I’m all ears for everybody,” he said. “If somebody wants to come and have something, I’m always trying to help. I’m trying to be a voice, and trying to be all ears for them.”

Del Valle certainly is a veteran of the game as he has spent time in the White Sox organization playing for their Dominican Summer League teams. He feels that his leadership skills have come with maturity.

Certainly with years you get more experience. That’s something that you just can’t pick up in a day or two,” said Del Valle. “Through the . . .  games and seasons, you are able to gain more [experience].”

The Columbian native quickly knew that life would be different away from home. Del Valle mentioned that he needed sixth months to a year to get acclimated to American culture.

The biggest difference between the two cultures for Del Valle is the structured time in America compared to a more relaxed Columbia. One example is the eating habit differences.

“I didn’t know what [fast food] was. [In Columbia], you always sit, have lunch with your family, and have dinner with your family,” he said. “Time goes so fast here in the states that you have to eat in the car.”

Del Valle is fortunate to have family support in the states. He resides in Atlanta with his wife and mother-in-law. It is common to see his kin in Gary and on the road. His wife tends to split the drive from Atlanta with her mother, and they enjoy the lengthy road trips; knowing it’s worth seeing Jaime play.

Baseball is a year-round lifestyle for Del Valle. When not playing in America over the winter season, he often has played baseball frequently in his native Columbia.

“I’ve played winter ball down there for the past 10 years, except last year,” Del Valle said. “I decided to take the winter off to work on my body and working to being 100% for 2017. . . .I will probably go back this year and play. But I always have the chance to see my family, and my friends when I am there. As long as I can, I will go down there and play.”
Del Valle wanted to be fully healthy coming into this season after suffering a hand injury that sidelined him for a portion of the 2016 campaign. He realizes that being fully healthy is a rarity, as players nurse many minor injuries during a lengthy season without missing time.

Manager Greg Tagert is known to split time evenly between his two catchers. Del Valle is familiar with his concept as he caught 35 game last season. This year, he plans to split time with newcomer Wilfredo Gimenez. Gimenez is a new face to Gary, but not a new face to Del Valle.

“For some reason, every time you got a Latino catcher next to you, we all know each other somehow,” he said. “I had the opportunity to meet him because an aid in the Dominican summer league. We played each other down there.”

Del Valle looks forward to split time with his new teammate as he is highly complimentary of the former AA catcher’s defensive skills and his personality.

It is a rarity in modern baseball to see a catcher who can play multiple positions. Del Valle has experience playing first base. With Gimenez in the fold, Del Valle could possibly see time at first base, but he doesn’t anticipate playing the position much this season.

“I haven’t even picked up a [first baseman’s] glove this year,” said Del Valle. “I think with Alex there, we will be solid. Alex [Crosby] and Frank [Martinez] can get the job done.”

Del Valle’s team-first mentality is certainly present in everything he does and says, and he is always willing to do what is best for the RailCats. That mindset is what helps him be the solid leader that he is for the ballclub.  

Gary’s home opener is on Friday, May 26 vs. the Texas AirHogs. Friday’s game vs. the AirHogs is a Fifth Third Bank Fireworks Friday and features a free magnet schedule giveaway to the first 1,000 fans, courtesy of Great Lakes Orthopedics. Jared Shlensky and Austin Anderson bring you all 100 RailCats games this season on WEFM (95.9 FM) and online at Fans can purchase tickets for RailCats home games by calling (219) 882-BALL or online at The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

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