Here’s an open discussion thread about minor league prospects. Phillies’ talk and other non-prospect discussion should remain in the Open Discussion.
This is an open format for any minor league prospect you want to discuss. The weekly top prospects article will be posted later in the week. This week, I want to put the spotlight on Jesmuel Valentin. Jesse had some personal problems that delayed the start of his season. When he was finally activated on July 31st, Coach Legg said Valentin would have to compete for playing time. He must have impressed quickly because he started 31 of the Threshers 33 final regular season games plus both playoff games.
- Jesmuel Jose Valentin, second baseman and shortstop
- Bats both, Throws right
- 5’9, 180 lb.
- Born 5/12/1994 (age 21)
- Drafted by the Dodgers in the 1st round (51st) of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft from The Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (Gurabo, PR).
- 2012; AZL Dodgers (age 18, -1.4 age dif) .211/.352/.316 in 197 PA (35 BB, about 18%)
- 2012; Ponce in the PRWL (age 18, -8.3) 18 PA in 16 G, but look at that age dif
- 2013; Great Lakes (age 19, -1.8) 5 weeks at full season A; .212/.325/.293, then
- 2013; Ogden (age 19, -1.6) sent to short season A; .284/.379/.396
- 2013; Ponce (age 19, -7.5) 27 PA in 14 G, .320/.370/.360
- 2014; Great Lakes (age 20, -1.5) .280/.349/.430 in 462 PA before trade
- 2014; Clearwater (age 20, -2.7) just 44 PA in 12 G; .205/.255/.250
- 2014; Mayaguez in the PRWL (age 20, -6.3) 89 PA in 29 G; .278/.341/.367
- 2015; Clearwater (age 21, -1.6) 118 PA in 31 G after activation; .273/.351/.424
Jesse Valentin remains an enigma for Phillies’ prospect followers. He arrived too late in 2014 for us to get a good feel for what we could expect. He was the 26th prospect in the Reader Top 30, 11th by Baseball America, 14th by Keith Law (ESPN), 8th by John Sickels (Minor League Ball), 22nd by Matt Winkelman (Phillies Minor Thoughts), 18th by Kiley McDaniel (FanGraphs, on 12/3/14 before Odubel Herrera, Zach Eflin, Tom Windle, and Ben Lively joined the organization).
When Valentin was activated this season, I thought he looked a little thick around the middle. But, I honestly can’t remember with any reasonable accuracy his build when he reported in 2014. I’m probably so used to seeing skinny LA middle infielders in the GCL that Valentin just looked “heavy-ish”. In any case, he was in good enough shape to quickly win the starting second base position for the remainder of the season. And it certainly made sense to play him every day for the organization to properly evaluate him.
Valentin started off 1 for 14, but finished with at least one base hit in 15 of his final 17 games. He only walked 12 times in 118 PA, but it’s understandable if he was a little more aggressive after his return to the roster. Valentin was utilized in the lead off position, batting ahead of Carlos Tocci in the final weeks of the season.
Valentin is not a speedster. He tried to steal twice and was thrown out both times. The Threshers’ speed game dried up with Dylan Cozens’ promotion to Reading. (Seriously, he was 18 for 23. Chase Harris was next at 15 for 21. After them, the team was 52 for 100.) Valentin is competent on the base paths, but not as quick as I would have expected.
Valentin’s biggest asset was his glove. He went error-free in 119 chances. It is not unreasonable to suggest that he is the best fielding second baseman in the organization.
It will be interesting to see where the Phillies place Valentin in the organization next season. Another good season of winter ball will help them decide. Valentin has hit pretty well while playing with much older competition in Puerto Rico. It wouldn’t be a stretch for Valentin to start in Reading, especially if Crawford starts in LHV and Mora moves from 2B to SS.