Phillies Acquire Jesmuel Valentin from the Dodgers

MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki with the report:

Jesmuel Valentin, son of former major leaguer Jose, is a 20-year-old second baseman, selected by the Dodgers in the first round (51st overall) in the 2011 draft. He has spent the 2014 season at Single-A Great Lakes, posting a .282/.352/.433 slash line with seven home runs, 47 RBI, and 24 stolen bases in 459 plate appearances.

Baseball Prospectus discussed Valentin in each of the last two of their annuals.

2013:

The son of former major-league infielder Jose Valentin was chosen 51st in the 2012 draft out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School, where he played second base alongside overall top pick Carlos Correa. Bypassing a scholarship to Louisiana State University—a mistake in the eyes of some—he signed for the recommended slot bonus of $984,700. A natural righty who has only been switch-hitting for a couple of years, Valentin’s bag of tools includes a strong, accurate arm with a quick release, above-average range, average speed, and a line-drive approach. He struggled at the plate in his professional debut, however, showing stiff swing mechanics and swinging late on fastballs and over off-speed pitches. He’ll need time to mature, particularly on the offensive side.Baseball Prospectus 2013 Annual

2014:

Switch-hitters who can play in the middle of the diamond get a long leash; prospects with big-league bloodlines are especially revered in the Dodger organization. The son of Jose Valentin has inherited much of pop’s skill set, from positional flexibility to a patient approach at the plate. Valentin is still an apprentice in the craft of pitch recognition and identifying those that he can drive, but he sees enough pitches per game to augment his education. Valentin has his work cut out for him in the years ahead, but he also possesses the defensive chops to hold down the keystone if his bat continues to develop.Baseball Prospectus 2014 Annual

BP’s Jason Parks also selected Valentin as one of two potential “breakout candidates” for the Dodgers for this season. Valentin is a year and a half younger than the average player at his level of the minor leagues, according to Baseball Reference, suggesting he has been making good progress in his young career.

The Phillies will get one more as-yet-unnamed player to complete the deal. These are essentially lottery tickets; shots in the dark in the hope that someone turns into a contributing major leaguer. Hernandez was headed to free agency after the season anyway, so getting something — anything — for him is better than nothing. At the outset, it looks like the Phillies did well for themselves in getting Valentin.

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16 comments

  1. Scott B

    August 17, 2014 02:12 PM

    I still wish they made more moves. But bonus points for Roob for getting a minor leaguer named Raywilly in the Cedeno trade.

  2. GB

    August 17, 2014 02:59 PM

    It is a good get for Hernandez who was basically replacement level. These are lottery tickets, as you said, but I think it is important that Amaro took someone at a level lower than AA and was willing to flip an asset for value before losing him for nothing. The rumors had been Amaro was only asking for more ML ready talent and obviously there have been stories on how Amaro did not really push to trade Byrd, Burnett, Papelbon et al. aggressively enough. The other PTBNL for Hernandez is supposedly a pitcher so we’ll see who the scouts targeted off the list.

    The other angle to this story was the Phils stat intern supposedly recommended Hernandez, the Phils listened to him, Hernandez played the role of stop-gap ok and was then flipped for value. That is the way this should work. The Phils need to gather as many talent chips as they can for the vets that are not in their plans or not worth bringing back. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a real commitment by the organization to replenish the farm and focus on the future.

    • ASK

      August 18, 2014 06:42 AM

      This is the key point. The issue isn’t whether Valentin and/or the other PTBNL ever make it to the Majors. The issue is that the Phillies front office did two things that they seeming had never done before:

      1. They used their Analytics Department to find an under-valued starting pitcher.
      2. They copied what other rebuilding (or restocking or whatever it is they want to call it) teams have done and flipped a player who is not part of their future for lottery tickets. The fact that Valentin has performed so well as a 20-year old is a bonus.

      I hope that they fill at least 2 rotation spots next year with signings that are similar to this off-season’s Hernandez signing. Brandon McCarthy (4.24 ERA, 2.94 SIERA) if he’ll sign a one-year deal comes to mind as a good candidate.

  3. JRVJ

    August 17, 2014 06:45 PM

    Seems like a pretty decent return for a throw-away guy like Hernández.

  4. Berdj J. Rassam

    August 17, 2014 09:34 PM

    It’s too early to know whether or not Valentin will be a solid MLB player, but his A League stats are definitely not overwhelming.

    • ASK

      August 18, 2014 06:32 AM

      He’s a premium defender at 2B who can also play SS, albeit not as well. Offensively, he has a 123 wRC+ in A ball at age 20, a league in which he is 1.5 years younger than the average player. The Phillies got him and another player in exchange for 2 months of Roberto Hernandez. What were you expecting, a top 100 prospect for Hernandez?

  5. GB

    August 17, 2014 11:49 PM

    The point is not that Valentin is going to be a good ML player; this is a lottery ticket and, as that label describes, it is not likely to turn into such a player.

    The point is the Phils finally followed through on the strategy of signing a stop-gap vet and then flipping him at one of the following trade deadlines for value. Valentin could develop into something good and it also provides a trade chip the Phils can use for another player that may have a better chance to help them. They need as many chips of this nature as possible since the likelihood they develop into ML players is small and, if you have a good amount of them, you can keep the ones you like and trade off the others for better players.

    That is what they needed to do with Byrd and Burnett too, but failed probably due to their reluctance to admit the season was lost and/or that a fundamental rebuild is necessary to arrest the death spiral we’ve been in the last 3 seasons. Byrd is now untradable until the off-season and Burnett’s value has plummented so much he may not be worth more than a bag of balls.

    That is also what they need to do with Kendrick before they lose him for nothing. We’ll see if this was just a one-off fluke or if the Phils are truly now committed to the rebuild and a strong focus on developing a future for this lost team.

    • Carmine

      August 18, 2014 09:03 AM

      That’s right. The question is has Ruben finally learned, and will he bring in better people to analyze and evaluate players going forward?
      As for Burnett and Byrd, I didn’t disagree with getting them this offseason. But it does rankle that part of the reason neither Burnett nor Byrd were moved at the deadline is the unnecessary contract sweeteners Amaro gave both players. It’s especially irritating in the case of Burnett because of his self-imposed geographical limitations made the Phillies the clear front runner for his services.

      • RedBeard

        August 18, 2014 05:57 PM

        The extra garbage in the contracts kills me. They’ll probably whiff on a guy like Castillo because they don’t want to meet the length of the deals that teams like the Yankees or Red Sox will offer because a Cuban player doesn’t exactly have a track record, yet they’ll toss option after confusing option into every player on the wrong side of 30 to keep them here forever. If a Cuban player is dangerous because they have an unproven track record, then why doesn’t the obviously proven track record of old players not factor into their decision making plans? I even liked the Byrd deal, but if you’re willing to spend like that for a guy’s 37 year old season, you need take risks in other areas too.

  6. Yah

    August 17, 2014 11:52 PM

    1st rounder from 2012 as one of two players for hernandez sounds good to me

  7. bubba0101

    August 18, 2014 09:25 AM

    How can they botch trade after trade or non-trade after non-trade I might say, then do so well here? I guess the blind squirrels come across nuts every so often too.

    • GB

      August 18, 2014 10:42 AM

      Its not that the Phils did so good; its that to get anything for a replacement level pitcher like Hernandez is a bonus

    • MattWinks

      August 18, 2014 03:14 PM

      Haven’t really botched the trades they have made (prospecting is hard so it isn’t 100%). The non-trades may be because they aren’t getting what they want. You don’t make a trade for a guy you don’t think is going to make it

      • Bubba0101

        August 18, 2014 08:46 PM

        Trading cliff lee and trading for hunter pence weren’t botched? We got nothing for a top 3 pitcher that just lead a team to a World Series and single handedly dominated a stacked yanks team that won the WS. And we traded two good and one great prospect for pence. I’d call those botched. And they were going to get at least one top prospect for lee last year but they had dilusions about competing so they didnt do it.

      • Mike Lacy

        August 19, 2014 10:18 AM

        @Bubba0101 – If none of the prospects traded to the Astros for Pence pan out, will you then say that the Astros “botched” that trade?

      • ASK

        August 19, 2014 05:35 PM

        Mike Lacy,

        If you are going to assess the Hunter Pence trade on the results, you have to factor in the following:

        1. That Pence was acquired to play for a team that was nearly guaranteed to make the playoffs, so his regular season production in 2011 was next to irrelevant for the Phillies, but his .213 wOBA and bad defense in the post-season surely didn’t help the cause.

        2. That, after getting 1.6 WAR from Cosart in approximately one full season at the league minimum salary, Houston turned Cosart (and another lesser player) into Jake Marisnick and Colin Moran. Therefore, it will be Cosart’s 1.6 WAR plus whatever Houston gets from Singleton + Santana + Zeid + Marisnick + Moran.

        Whether you assess the Pence deals based on what they gave up at the time or based on the actual results, it’s probably going to end up being a disaster either way.

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