Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Danny Valencia, 3B of the future

Today, we will be taking a look at Twins prospect Danny Valencia, a third baseman.  The Twins are set at catcher, 1B, DH, and the outfield for the next few years.  The Twins biggest area of need in the future is the infield, especially the left side. Their current 3B, Joe Crede, is signed only for this year.  The Twins however have hope for 3B in the future, because of Danny Valencia.  

Valencia is currently in AA with the New Britain Rock Cats.  He is 24 years old.  The Twins acquired him with their 19th round pick in the 2006 draft.  He played in college at Miami.  He has been great with the glove and the bat throughout his minor league career.  Last year in A ball, he hit .336/.402/.518 (avg./OBP/slugg.) with 19 doubles, 5 homers, and 44 RBI in just 220 at-bats before getting called up to AA.  There he had 18 doubles, 10 homers, and 32 RBI.  

He is almost always listed as one of the Twins top 5 prospects, and is probably regarded as the top hitting prospect out of the Twins upper two minor league teams.  This year he is still in AA, and he has 5 homers, 4 triples, and 9 doubles in 124 at-bats, while hitting .339/.432/.597.  That is a 1.028 OPS, which is very very good.  And he is great on defense as well.  

I'd project he will move up to AAA Rochester by the all-star break.  He might get a September callup with the Twins, and I'd expect Danny Valencia to be the Twins 3B starting in 2010.  I don't know if he will be an all-star, but he should be a great bat and a great defensive 3B, and one of the better overall players on the Twins.  I'd project him to hit 15-20 homers a year, with 30+ doubles, and a batting average around .295 in the majors.  It seems as though the Twins have finally found a good long term solution at 3B, something they've been lacking since Corey Koskie left them in 2004.

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