2012 MLB Draft: Los Angeles Dodgers – Day 1 – The 51st Overall Pick Is Jesmuel Valentin

The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Jesmuel Valentin with the 51st overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. Out of Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, and son of Jose Valentin, he’ll likely start his professional career at shortstop, but could move to second or third eventually.

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Baseball America had him ranked #71.

The son of Jose Valentin, who spent 16 years in the big leagues, Jesmuel has grown up around the game and spent plenty of time around major league clubhouses. Jesmuel has a similar build to his father at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds. He’s primarily a shortstop, but plays a lot of second base in deference to his high school teammate at Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Carlos Correa. He’ll likely get a shot to play shortstop in pro ball and has the defensive versatility to play all over the diamond, but many scouts believe he’s best suited for the keystone. Valentin is a steady defender with a strong arm and is a solid-average runner with good instincts on the bases. His tools play up because of his hard-nosed approach and instincts for the game. At the plate, he has a line-drive approach, and his strong forearms allow him to spray the ball from gap to gap with authority. Valentin projects more as a doubles hitter than a slugger, but he does have the strength and bat speed to hit the ball out of the park. A natural righthanded hitter, he has been switch-hitting for about a year and half and is still working to feel comfortable as a lefty.

ESPN‘s Jason Churchill reported this back on May 11th.

The son of former big-league infielder Jose Valentin has had a strong season and showed well recently, including at the Excellence Tournament in Puerto Rico late last week. He’s a teammate of Carlos Correa, perhaps the No. 2 overall prep prospect in the entire class, so Valentin plays mainly second base. He’s capable at short, however, and has enough arm to play there long term. He’s a switch hitter, and though there are some questions about the lack of future power, there is bat speed to support a pro career.

I actually thought the Dodgers would go after an arm here, but I don’t mind the position player direction. Another high upside bat with the potential to stick a premium position. Nice.

So far, so good.

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