Phillies Find Contributors
PHILADELPHIA—In August 2014, the Phillies made a nondescript trade in which they sent journeyman starter Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers for two low-level minor leaguers.
Two years later, it looks like Philadelphia might have netted two future big leaguers.
Second baseman Jesmuel Valentin has played his way to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, while righthanded reliever Victor Arano was recently promoted to Double-A Reading after a strong showing at high Class A Clearwater.
The Dodgers made Valentin, now 22, a supplemental first-round pick in 2012 out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He missed significant time in 2015 while serving a suspension after a domestic battery incident, but he has come received high marks for his comportment and play in 2016.
Valentin, a 5-foot-9 switch-hitter, batted .276/.346/.399 in 89 games at Double-A before moving up. The Puerto Rico native is the son of 16-year big league shortstop Jose Valentin, and he could wind up on the 40-man roster this winter.
"He’s got a very good feel for the game, and he understands who he is as a baseball player,” farm director Joe Jordan said. "He handles the bat well, has a line-drive approach and turns the double play well.”
Arano, a 21-year-old from Mexico, worked a starter his first three seasons in pro ball. He moved to the bullpen this season and struck out 10.1 batters per nine innings and recorded a 2.29 ERA in 35 games at Clearwater before moving up to Reading.
Jordan compared Arano to Edubray Ramos, a power-armed righty who rose to the big leagues this season. The Phillies have seen Arano command a fastball up to 97 mph, and he throws a slider and a curveball.
"He’s got a chance to be a really good bullpen piece in important innings,” Jordan said. "He’s got the arsenal to start, but he worked as a reliever in winter ball and the role fits his personality.”
• Short-season Williamsport lefthander Ranger Suarez, a 20-year-old Venezuelan, threw a seven-inning no-hitter against Auburn on July 26. He walked one and struck out five.
2021 Puerto Rico Olympic Qualifying Roster
Puerto Rico's roster for the Americas Qualifier, led by former major leaguers Ivan De Jesus, Jesmuel Valentin and Noel Cuevas.
• Reading sluggers Dylan Cozens, a right fielder, and Rhys Hoskins, a first baseman, are the first Eastern League teammates to hit 30 or more homers apiece since Ron Kittle and Randy Johnson of Glens Falls in 1981.