Sunday, July 25, 2010

Valencia: The Twins Everyday 3rd Baseman

It's very simple.

Danny Valencia should be the Twins everyday 3rd baseman.

It needs to be this way and there are many reason why.

Valencia has been an prospect that the Twins have thought very highly of in recent years. He has continued to put up outstanding numbers at every level along the way to the majors. In two seasons at AAA he batted a combined .289. His power numbers from parts of two seasons at the AAA level aren't off the charts (7 HR, 65 RBI, .421 SLG) but they are more appealing than the other options that the Twins have at 3rd base, such as Nick Punto.

Valencia (26 games) : .329 BA, 0 HR, 5 RBI, .386 OBP, .382 SLG
Punto (77 games): .242 BA, 1 HR, 19 RBI, .316 OBP, .301 SLG

If he is getting consistent at-bats, Valencia has the potential to be a threat at the plate. In comparison Punto has never really been in the Twins lineup because of his batting prowess. Punto is a career .248 hitter with 13 HR and a .322 SLG. Valencia is only 25 and there is still time for him to develop more power at the major league level.

Fielding (Games at 3rd base):

Valencia (23 games): 15 PO, 39 A, 1 E, .982 fielding %
Punto (48 games): 29 PO, 93 A, 0 E, 1.000 fielding %

Punto is amazing in the field. He is the best fielding player on the Twins roster and he might be one of the best fielding infielders that currently plays in the majors. He has the ability to make an extremely hard play look routine. That being said, Valencia is also a very adequate player in the field. He has one error in his time at the major league level. This difference in defensive level is not enough to push Punto into the line-up over Valencia.

The Twins seem to be taking a different approach with Valencia as compared to some of the other prospects in the organization. Take for example Wilson Ramos. The Twins have this innate fear of Ramos not being able to play everyday at the catcher position. When Ramos made his appearance on the team earlier this season, Ron Gardenhire was adamant that Ramos would only be with the major league club until Mauer was able to play again every day. Why doesn't this fear extend to Valencia as well?

The only way Valencia is going to improve as a 3rd baseman is to be playing the position and playing the position on an everyday basis. He is not going to learn from watching Nick Punto make outstanding play after outstanding play. He needs to be out there making the plays and learning from any mistakes that he does make. Let him play everyday or send him down so he can play everyday at AAA. Brendon Harris can come up and be a fill-in player at 3rd base.

Mr. Valencia take every opportunity that you are given and show the Twins that you are the team's everyday 3rd baseman.


Rachel said...

I totally agree with you.
While Punto's defense can't be beat, his bat just can't be in the lineup everyday.
Punto perfectly fits the role of utility guy.
He can give players a break, or come in during the later innings to tighten up the defense.

NoDak Twins Fan said...

I want to thank Valencia for proving my point today. Good day for him at the plate.

NoDak Twins Fan said...

Great couple of games Valencia. Way to take advantage of the opportunities that Gardy is giving you. Go get them kid!