Infielder Jesmuel Valentin took a decent leap forward with his performance at Lehigh Valley in 2016.

Jesmuel Valentin has put some obstacles in the past and moved on to the list of the Top 50 Phillies Prospects. The infield prospect has the potential to be a role player at the major league level.

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Jesmuel Valentin doesn't turn 23 until mid-may, but he's already reached Triple-A and put up solid numbers for Lehigh Valley last season in his first shot at the highest minor league level. Valentin opened last season at Double-A Reading after missing most of the 2015 season because of a suspension resulting from a domestic violence incident. The young infielder seems to have learned his lesson and played well with Reading before being bumped to Lehigh Valley in late July.

As with most players, Valentin found out that there is a difference in levels and had some struggles with the IronPigs, hitting .248 compared to the .276 average he put up with the Fightins. Another big difference was the jump in strikeout percentage, whiffing in 14% of his plate appearances at Double-A, while going down on strikes in 19% of his plate appearances at the Triple-A level. The 14% number was exactly where Valentin stood coming into the season. It should be pointed out that Valentin's walk percentage was consistent between the two levels, with just a dip of 0.3% when he moved up to the IronPigs.

It's easy to correlate Valentin's drop in average from Double-A to Triple-A based on his strikeout percentage. Making contact is Valentin's key to success. Very simply, when Valentin makes contact, he reaches base, having a career .310 average on balls in play, which was at .313 at Reading and dipped to .284 with Lehigh Valley.  

Being a switch-hitter, Valentin sprays the ball around the field, but his power comes generally from the left side of the plate. He doesn't possess great power, but can occasionally turn on a pitch. Generally, Valentin is a singles hitter, who just looks to get on base. Occasionally, he pokes a ball into a gap and goes for extra bases, but is that basic get-on-base type of hitter that has the ability to be effective in setting up the bigger bats in the lineup.

Jesmuel Valentin spray chart

Defensively, if the Phillies ran into a run of injuries and just needed someone to put on the field and use their glove, Valentin could be their man. The Phillies kept Valentin primarily at second base since acquiring him from the Dodgers, but have used him some at short.While in the Dodgers organization, Valentin played both middle infield spots, in addition to some third base and a little bit in the corner outfield spots. His best defensive position is undoubtedly second base, but he's able to play the other positions without much concern about his glove.

The question on Valentin all comes down to just how much he will be able to hit at the major league level. Versatility will be a key, because at this point, Valentin doesn't project as a long-term answer at any one position, but he can hold down a position to cover an injury and could stick with a club as a utility player at some point down the road. 

It will be interesting to see if the Phillies start to work him into other positions this season or if they keep him concentrated on playing second base. With Cesar Hernandez anchoring second base in Philadelphia, Freddy Galvis a potential takeover threat at the position once J.P. Crawford arrives in Philadelphia, and second base prospect Scott Kingery not far behind, the handwriting about Valentin's future with the Phillies is on the wall. He's either going to make it as a utility player or have to find a home elsewhere if he's going to have a shot at making the majors as an everyday second baseman.

Jesmuel Valentin's career stats

YearTmGABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOBAOBPSLG
2012 AZL Dodgers 43 152 34 32 6 2 2 18 35 24 .211 .352 .316
2013 2 Teams 95 349 65 92 16 4 4 29 49 62 .264 .364 .367
2013 Ogden 62 250 53 71 10 3 4 24 33 34 .284 .379 .396
2013 Great Lakes 33 99 12 21 6 1 0 5 16 28 .212 .325 .293
2014 2 Teams 120 451 81 123 24 9 7 47 41 78 .273 .341 .412
2014 Great Lakes 108 407 73 114 22 9 7 47 38 72 .280 .349 .430
2014 Clearwater 12 44 8 9 2 0 0 0 3 6 .205 .255 .250
2015 Clearwater 31 99 18 27 10 1 1 14 12 15 .273 .351 .424
2016 2 Teams 125 446 76 120 19 5 9 52 50 80 .269 .341 .395
2016 Reading 89 341 59 94 17 5 5 38 38 56 .276 .346 .399
2016 Lehigh Valley 36 105 17 26 2 0 4 14 12 24 .248 .325 .381
Minors (5 seasons) 414 1497 274 394 75 21 23 160 187 259 .263 .348 .387
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/10/2017.


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