Burlington, NC: After a slow season start, Escalera turned into a hitting and defensive machine during the second half of the Appalachian League 2013 season. Escalera ended his season as the Burlington Royals’ leader in hits, doubles and batting average among the player with more than 150 at bats, and made the Top 20 Appalachian League’s batting average list.
Escalera was assigned by the Kansas City Royals to join its affiliate Burlington Royals in North Carolina during the 2013 baseball season after having a strong Arizona League and spring training showing. Initially, the Burlington Royals coaching staff tried various offensive strategies by changing the roster moving Escalera to the fifth batter position, to leadoff hitter, to second batter and finally back to third. The strategies paid off by making Escalera’s performance at the plate to exceed the League’s average. The coaching strategy and the player’s determination made possible that The Pine Tar Press awarded Escalera with the Player of the Day on August 28th, 2013.
After finishing his AZL 2012 season with an average of .303, Escalera proceeded to hit .178 /. 299/. 342 at the beginning of the 2013 season until he finally caught fire in July and August. In the last ten games of the season, Escalera gathered a .381 /.400 /.595 which included 16 hits, 6 doubles and 1 homerun. His aggressive approach to the game produced 8 RBI and allowed him to steal second base twice. “It was a rollercoaster ride, a slow start with a dramatic ending. I need to work on how I start the season because I am certainly mastering the art of finishing strong. It happened to me during my high school years as well as in my AZL season, and I was able to always pull a successful run at the end. I will be making my self-evaluation during the off-season and during the Royals’ Instructional League in October ” Escalera said while describing the 2013 season.
“I think it was a fruitful season,” Escalera said. “I learned new things, had great experiences and developed new abilities. It’s hard to believe that after I’ve been playing since I was 4 years old, I am still in the development phase and improving some aspects of my game”.
In baseball evaluating comebacks and in-season transformations seem to be subjective and meaningless. No one brings up a good comeback year during contract negotiations or in a speech in Cooperstown. But a strong mental condition, self-confidence, ability to focus, emotional stability and work ethics are not necessarily obvious by just looking at a batting average. On the other hand, these fundamental traits are tangible when an athlete reemerged from a discreet start to become a star in a single season. This was truly an exciting season.