|Jesmuel Valentin, image- Jay Floyd|
Switch-hitting infielder Jesmuel Valentin has been a bit of an underrated contributor with the Double-A Reading Fightins.
Heading into action on Friday, Valentin was batting .339 over his last 14 games. Overall this season, the 22-year-old is batting .282 with four home runs and 35 RBI in 64 games.
Valentin, who plays mostly second base, but dabbles at shortstop a bit also, is the son of former big leaguer Jose Valentin.
The Puerto Rico native was a supplementary round pick (51st overall) of the Dodgers in 2012. He was acquired by the Phils as part of the Roberto Hernandez trade in 2014.
Recently, I spoke with Jesmuel about his team's success, growing up around the game and more. Read ahead for that full interview.
-The Reading team has been great and you've contributed very nicely to the club's success. What are your thoughts on competition in the Eastern League this year?
I just came here with the mindset that this was going to be a harder, tougher level, but so far it's pretty much the same type of baseball, so I just do the stuff I know and play baseball, playing the game the way it's supposed to be played.
-There are several well-touted prospects on this team and everyone contributes. What is it like playing with such a stacked group?
I think just, for me, being part of this kind of team is just amazing. It helps you a lot in every different mindset or how you want to see it, because if you want to play on a team like that, you have to do good. We have talent all over, from the first hitter to the nine hole hitter, so it's fun. It's fun to play like this, having the guys do good all day, so pretty sometimes you think I have to keep up, or I have to do better, but like it makes me play baseball how I'm supposed to because it seems like it makes everything easier to you. Every time I go to the plate, I just look to the scoreboard and what situation we are in. I know I'm going to have a hitter right behind me who can do the job, so if I need to move the runner, I just move the runner or if they need an RBI...I just try to bring him in. It's just more easier to play like this, with a team like this because you don't have too much pressure. You don't have to put the team on your back, because pretty much there's somebody there that's going to be the player of the game. For me, that's how it's supposed to be.