Thursday, December 29, 2016

Off-season Check In: 2b Jesmuel Valentin

Jesmuel Valentin, image- Jay Floyd
Second baseman Jesmuel Valentin reached the Triple-A level following a solid campaign with Double-A Reading in 2016. Overall in 125 games, the 22-year-old tallied a .269 average with nine home runs, 52 RBI and four stolen bases combined at the two levels.

Valentin, who is a talented defender, was originally a 1st round draft choice by the Dodgers in 2012 prior to being traded to the Phillies for Roberto Hernandez in 2014.  His father, Jose, played in the Major Leagues with the Mets, Brewers, Dodgers and White Sox.

The five-foot-nine 180-pound switch-hitter is slated to begin his 2017 in big league spring training with the Phils.

Recently, Jesmuel took time to answer some questions about his off-season efforts playing for Mayaguez in the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League in Puerto Rico and spoke on his time with Lehigh Valley this year.  Read ahead for that full interview.


- How has playing in the PR/Roberto Clemente League been for you over the past month or two? 
 
Has been great so far, working a lot on important things to be prepare for my first big league camp, 'cause first impressions are important.  The goal is to make the team but, if not, I want to be the first guy they have in their mind.
 
- Is your dad around the Indios and, if so, what is his role?

Yes, my dad is the manager. He has been a big (help). He always has his fist on me so I can be the best player on the field.

- Is there anyone else there, coach or teammate, that you're learning a lot from or working with closely to improve?
 
Our team has a lot of big league time players like Yadier Rivera, Carlos Corporan, Kennys Vargas, Eddie Rosario, my uncle Javier Valentin is the hitting coach. Every game they give me tips to be better and to be prepared  for every situation or scenario.

- I saw that one of the teams in that league had not been paid in November and they ended up not playing and forfeited a game.  Is that right and have things improved for that team or those players?  
 
Yeah, those rumors where right.  All I know is that the team (is playing) now and everything is running good now.

- What are the crowds like for games there in Puerto Rico and how do the crowds compare to those here in the U.S.?

The crowds here are really low now our team has the best fans on the league. (From) now on the playoffs will be sold out. Compared to (affiliated ball) is that here (the fans) are louder and they live every moment of the game.

- Wrapping up the regular season this year with Lehigh Valley- was that important to you to make it to that level? 

It was.  That one more step was huge.  Why?  Because is a league closer to the big leagues and with a lot of big league players. So, already I had a taste of what is coming.
 
- What was your favorite thing about playing with the IronPigs?

I love the stadium, the fans were awesome, great crowds every day. Nice facilities, great atmosphere, short road trips, and better baseball.
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