Who: Danny Valencia
How Acquired: 2006 draft, 19th round
Highest Level In 2009: AAA Rochester
I probably like Danny Valencia less than any Twins person out there, and that’s fine with me. He certainly has improved over the course of his minor league career, as he was drafted in the 19th round as I said above, but he’ll also be 25 for the 2010 season, which he will likely spend in AAA. By and large, you are what you are at 25 and what Valencia is a good hitter who has been above average at all of his minor league stops, but not a great one.
Valencia seems to alternate between decent and very good years, which as you will notice by looking at his stats page, is due to repeating the level. It could be a case of needing to get adapted to his environment, but if you will notice he hasn’t ever been young for his level. He also has had some tremendously high BABIPs. That could be because he naturally hits the ball hard, but because his ISO has never gotten over .200, I am going to assume it is because of the worse defense in the minor leagues. That ISO never getting above .200 means that he also will likely only be a 15 homer type guy, which is fine, but not great for a third baseman.
Defensively, Valencia is projected as a -5 at 3B by CHONE but based on reading scouting reports and watching him play a bit in the minors, I think he could be better than that. However, it is possible that his defense is the reason the Twins haven’t promoted him to the majors yet. In the end, I think Valencia will have value, and is a nice player, he’s just not an elite prospect.