Valera moved from New York to the Dominican Republic at age 13 and blossomed into one of the best hitting prospects in the 2017 international class. The Indians brought him to the United States after signing him for $1.3 million, but a broken hamate bone in his right hand limited his 2018 pro debut to just six games. He posted an .802 OPS as the second-youngest regular (behind teammate Brayan Rocchio) in the short-season New York-Penn League last year.
Valera has the prettiest swing in a system full of gifted young hitters, a loose stroke with rhythm and balance from the left side of the plate. He already recognizes pitches well, works deep counts and shows the ability to drive the ball to all fields. Once he settles in against older competition, adds some strength and puts the ball in the air more often, he could become a .300 hitter with 25-30 homers per season.
Though he has spent most of his early career in center and right field, there's a chance that Valera could end up in left field. His speed and arm strength earn more average than solid grades, though he did throw out 11 baserunners in his first 51 pro games. No matter his position, he should hit enough to profile as a regular.
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Born in New York, Valera moved to the Dominican Republic at 13 and developed into one of the best hitting prospects in the 2017 international class. Signed for $1.3 million, he was easily advanced enough at the plate to come to the United States for his pro debut at 17 last summer. He played only six games, however, before his '18 season ended with a broken hamate bone in his right hand.
Valera has the best stroke in a system full of pretty swings, displaying looseness, rhythm and balance from the left side of the plate. He also has a mature approach and a knack for drawing walks along with making contact to all fields. His bat speed and the leverage in his swing give him solid raw power, and his skill as a hitter means that he may be able to translate most of it into home-run production once he adds more strength.
Valera has a chance to have average or better tools across the board, though it's still uncertain where he'll play as a finished product. The Indians believe he can improve his quickness if he works on it and stationed him in center field for most of his brief debut. His arm earns average-to-solid grades, but there's a chance he could end up in left field, where his bat should still make him a regular.
Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Valera was born in New York and spent his first 13 years there before moving with his family to the Dominican Republic. He was revered by scouts as one of the premier hitters in the 2017-18 international class, a distinction which earned him the No. 21 spot on MLB Pipeline's list of the Top 30 international prospects. Impressed by Valera's across-the-board tools and high ceiling at the plate, the Indians made him a key part of their international class, signing Valera for $1.3 million on July 2. Assigned to the Rookie-level Arizona League for his pro debut the following year, Valera logged just six games before undergoing surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his hand.
Athletic and wiry, Valera has a smooth and loose left-handed swing with some whip and leverage that enables him to generate backspin. He makes hard contact, showing barrel awareness and driving the ball to all fields, and scouts like his advanced approach in the batter's box and overall plate discipline. Those qualities give Valera a chance at becoming an above-average hitter with at least average game power, which he already shows as a teenager.
Valera is an average runner with an above-average arm. He takes good routes and has solid defensive actions in the outfield, profiling best in either right or left field. Valera may be years away from making impact, but he has the necessary tools, skills and intangibles to do so.
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45
One of the top hitters in the 2017-18 international class, Valera was viewed by scouts as one of the better outfielders on the market because of his hit tool and defensive prowess. The Indians, intrigued by his across-the-board tools and overall upside, made Valera a key part of their international class, signing him for $1.3 million on July 2.
Valera has a smooth and loose left-handed swing with some whip to it. Athletic and wiry, he makes hard contact and can spray the ball to all fields. He projects to hit for average with some power, and scouts like his advanced approach in the batter's box and overall plate discipline.
Valera is an average runner with an above-average arm, an above-average glove and solid defensive actions in the outfield. He profiles as a right fielder and has earned praise for his routes in the outfield. Scouts also like his makeup and instincts on both sides of the ball.