The Twins have called up Danny Valencia while Michael Cuddyer is on the bereavement list. Presumably he will play third base while Nick Punto is at second base. Twins fans have called him the savior. He has been hailed as one of the best prospects in the system.
Neither of these are true.
This year, despite enjoying a .358 BABIP, Valencia has just a .323 wOBA in Rochester. As a 25 year old. Repeating AAA.
Twins fans point to his career .298 average or his career .821 OPS as evidence of future stardom, but the truth is neither of these are true. Valencia simply has repeated every level except low A and rookie ball, and has fattened his stats in those years.
While pro-Valencia people see this as a smart hitter adjusting to the pitchers, it simply is a product of him being either age appropriate or too old for his league, and fattening up on pitching he should be fattening up on.
The good news is Valencia doesn’t have to be better than Punto, he just has to outpace Brendan Harris’s 2010. Sadly, his minor league equivalencies peg him for roughly a .253/.295/.322 line. Hardly a savior and in fact it is a question as to whether or not he will be better than Harris.
In the end, Valencia could basically be a Nick Punto type hitter (if you look at Zips, CHONE, etc.)….except not feature the good defense or baserunning that makes Nick Punto an acceptable major leaguer.
Sorry to be a debbie downer, but while he might have a couple hot games a la Wilson Ramos, don’t expect much from Valencia.