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BJ Vela reflects on Red Sox rookie ball season

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CHICO, Calif. - It's the middle of Major League Baseball's offseason, but BJ Vela is still hard at work. 

The Pleasant Valley Grad was drafted by the Red Sox in the 16th round of the 2021 MLB Draft. 

After being drafted, he went out to the Red Sox training facility in Fort Myers, Florida. 

"You're in a place of so many great players and so much history that you kind of have a wow factor for a bit," Vela said. "You have to click it in because now you have to compete."

That wow factor was quickly replaced by an intense schedule. Vela was a second and third baseman on Boston's rookie team, playing games six days a week. 

"It's funny because the more you move up, you think you know and you get comfortable in your game," he said. "I learned a lot about my swing, my mechanics, my approach. That was for the hitting side of things. On the defensive side, it kind of just comes. It's just playing a game still. It's the little things along the way, nutrition wise, health wise."

Vela batted .219 in 32 at bats with one homerun and four RBIs. He said that homerun was especially cool because all the Red Sox ballparks look like Fenway. 

What has Vela been up to since coming home from Fort Myers? He's working on his own game, but he's also teaching the next generation of players. 

"There are countless names in the community that helped me along the way," Vela said. "I picked their brains, and now I just give it right back. I'm passing it along."

The PV grad said the support makes him proud to represent our community. 

"It felt really good," Vela said. "Everyone's saying where they're from, a lot of big name schools. They [ask me], 'where are you from?' I say I'm from Chico and I get to tell them stories about Chico."

Vela went back out to Fort Myers last week for a check in and one-on-one training. Now he's back in Chico where he'll continue honing his skills until spring training.

"I'm just going to work on me," Vela said. "I can't control where they end up placing me. I could get traded tomorrow. I can't control what the organization does with me. What I can control is how good I play and making sure I do everything in my ability to do it right."

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