Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dominican baseball player Jordany Valdespin makes debut for Mets

Ranked as the number six prospect in the Mets system at the start of the year, Dominican baseball player Jordany Valdespin made his debut with the big league club this week.  He is a career infielder, but the Mets brought him up to play some outfield and serve as an all-around utility player, a la Martin Prado in Atlanta or Emilio Bonifacio in Miami.

The Dominican baseball player Valdespin made his first appearance on Monday and also played on Thursday for the Mets.  He is yet to get on base in four at bats in those two games.  But people around the Mets organization have no doubts about his potential as a big league starter:
  • “From a physical ability standpoint, he’s the closest thing to Jose Reyes,” said ex-Mets general manager Omar Minaya.
  • “His skills? Off the charts,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. 
Valdespin is from San Pedro de Macoris, Republica Dominicana.  His Dominican background led him to befriend fellow Dominican baseball player Jose Reyes.  The two met when Valdespin came to Mets spring training in 2010.  Reyes has counseled Valdespin about on-field issues, but also encouraged him to grow and mature off the field.

In this mentor role, Jose Reyes is continuing a tradition of established Dominican baseball players counseling young and up and coming Dominican players.  David Ortiz has been known as a mentor for young Dominicans for many years, and others have done the same.  It is a major transition for Dominican baseball players new to the big league game, and the country more generally.

Dominican baseball players like Jose Reyes and David Ortiz are doing a great service for their countrymen by helping to ease the transition for young players such as Jordany Valdespin.
Mets Dominican player in the minor leagues in 2011
Dominican baseball player Jordany Valdespin in the minor leagues in 2011, photo by Paul Hadsall on Flickr

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