Correa, Valentin sign letters of intent

Correa, Valentin sign letters of intent

Correa, Valentin sign letters of intent
The two biggest stars at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School (PRBAHS) have signed their letters of intent to play at the next level.

Earlier this month, shortstop Carlos Correa committed to the University of Miami and middle infielder Jesmuel Valentin -- son of former Major League infielder Jose Valentin -- signed with Louisiana State University.

Whether the two go on to play in college remains to be seen, as each is slated to be taken in the early rounds of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft in June.

"It's a special talent that these boys have, and obviously, seeing them develop in our program speaks volumes for us as a program and for them as individuals," Carlos Berroa, athletic director of the PRBAHS. said. "It's a combination of them being in a good program and putting to use a good set of skills. This is a win-win for everybody. We're very ecstatic to have both of these guys represent our school, wherever they go."

Correa stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs approximately 190 pounds, and scouts rave about his defense, arm strength and the way the ball jumps off his bat. Some have suggested that he could be one of the highest Draft picks in Puerto Rico history.

Valentin, a switch-hitting, 5-foot-10 middle infielder, is projected to be taken within the first five rounds of the Draft. His natural position is shortstop, but with Correa's presence, has played mostly second base at the PRBAHS. According to a local scout, Valentin has good gap-to-gap power and arm strength but needs to improve his defense and hitting from the left side of the plate.

Correa and Valentin are among more 200 teenagers benefiting from the 10-year-old PRBAHS, which is run by Major League Baseball as part of its Urban Youth Academy (UYA) initiative. Unlike the UYAs in Houston and Compton, Calif. -- which offer free baseball and softball as after-school, weekend and summer programs -- the PRBAHS is an all-male school offering scholarships and a full academic curriculum.

In the 10 years since the school was opened, 64 of its players have been drafted, and about 96 percent have gone on to attend two- or four-year colleges.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.