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Browsing Posts tagged Danny Valencia

(ESPN.com)

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Danny Valencia returned to the Major Leagues yesterday (5/19/2013), and he celebrated by hitting a double in his first at-bat as a Baltimore Oriole, a liner to the warning track in right-center field off Tampa Bay Rays ace Matt Moore (see video).

It was a sweet sound for the 28-year-old Miami native, a lifetime .316 hitter against southpaws whose once-promising career took a wrong turn in 2012 and left him mired in Triple-A with his second new team less than a year.

Valencia was the pride of Minnesota back in 2010, when he hit .311 with 7 HRs and 40 RBIs over 85 games and finished third in voting for A.L. Rookie of the Year. A year later he hit .246 with 15 HRs and a team-leading 72 RBIs. The Twins’ long search for a reliable third baseman seemed over.

But in 2012, Valencia struggled both at the plate and in the field, landing himself in Triple-A for several months. He didn’t fare much better after being acquired by the Boston Red Sox, for whom he hit just .143 in 10 games. The Sox traded him to the Baltimore Orioles during the offseason, for cash.

Valencia could have given up. After all, his career trajectory didn’t look good. He was due to open a season in the Minors for the first time since his rookie year, this time with the Norfolk Tides. But he fought back any shame or doubts and quickly caught fire. After 40 games in the International League (Triple-A) in 2013, he was hitting .306 and among league leaders with 11 HRs (1st/tie) — including seven in his last 10 games — 14 doubles (4th/tie), 35 RBIs (2nd), 29 runs (2nd), and a .600 slugging percentage (8th/tie). The O’s decided to give him another shot in the Majors.

Whether Orioles manager Buck Showalter will platoon Valencia against left-handed pitchers remains to be seen. But Valencia sounds optimistic. “The streak that I was on [in Norfolk] was probably one of the better streaks I’ve ever had in my career,” he told MLB.com. ”I felt like any time they gave me a mistake to hit, I hit it pretty hard. It was a good feeling, and hopefully it carries over.”

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

Here are highlights from minor-league games played on Saturday, April 13:

  • Max Fried, a 19-year-old starter ranked the San Diego Padres’ No. 2 prospect by MLB.com, earned his first professional win, and in dominant fashion. Fried pitched 5 scoreless innings for the Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A), giving up just 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out eight (see article and box score). Chosen 7th overall in the 2012 amateur draft — for which he received a $3-million bonus — the 6’4″ Californian walked the first batter of the game but then picked him off first base. Providing support was Jewish teammate and roommate Maxx Tissenbaum, who drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and drew his Midwest League-leading 10th walk of the season. (Click here to see Tissenbaum‘s excellent blog.)
  • Double-A players Jack Marder and Jake Lemmerman both hit their first HRs of the 2013 season. Marder, a Seattle Mariners prospect who went 2/4 and added a walk, was Jewish Baseball News’ 2012 minor-league rookie of the year. Lemmerman plays shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization.
  • Red-hot New York Mets prospect Josh Satin had a perfect day at the plate, going 2/2 with a home run, 3 RBIs, and 3 walks for the Las Vegas 51s (Triple-A). Satin is hitting .474 (3rd highest in the Pacific Coast League) with 4 HRs (1st/tie), 12 RBIs (3rd/tie), 12 runs (2nd/tie), a .545 on-base percentage (3rd/tie), and an on-base plus slugging of 1.440 (3rd).
  • Baltimore Orioles prospect (and former Major Leaguer) Danny Valencia went 3/4 and drove in a run, raising his batting average to .333. Valencia plays third base for the Norfolk Tides (Triple-A).
  • In his second start of the 2013 season, Tampa Bay Rays prospect Sean Bierman earned his second consecutive shutout. Bierman gave up five singles and no walks while striking out four batters for the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Single-A).

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

With the regular season now underway, we’re taking a quick look back at how Jewish players performed in spring training.

The sheer number who played was impressive: a total of at least 24 Jews — 18 position players and six pitchers — got on the field for at least one MLB game this spring.

BATTING

Collectively,  position players hit .255 with 14 HRs and 64 RBIs in 384 at-bats (see table below). Several stood out:

  • Kevin Youkilis had an eye-popping debut with the New York Yankees. He led all Jewish players (as well as all Yankees) with 6 HRs, 6 doubles and 14 RBIs in just 50 at-bats, along with an .800 slugging percentage and a 1.139 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
  • New York Mets prospect Josh Satin made the most of his 16 plate appearances, cobbling together 3 singles, 2 doubles, 5 walks, and 3 RBIs to amass a .455 batting average and .647 on-base percentage.
  • Ike Davis, another Met, showed great poise at the plate, hitting .327 with 4 doubles, 1 HR, and 4 RBIs. Davis’s 9 walks boosted his on-base percentage to a healthy .431.
  • Danny Valencia lost his fight for a spot on the Baltimore Orioles’ opening-day roster but made a good impression on his new team, hitting .323 with 1 HR, 4 RBIs, and a .417 on-base percentage.
  • Maxx Tissenbaum, a 21-year-old San Diego Padres prospect with one minor-league season under his belt, knocked in 3 runs in just 4 at-bats.
  • St. Louis Cardinals prospect Adam Ehrlich walked in both of his plate appearances, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Charlie Cutler singled in his only appearance of the spring, and San Diego Padres prospect Cody Decker went 3-for-6 with a double.

Final hitting stats, 2013 MLB Spring Training

 
TEAM
G
AB
H
HR
RBI
AVG
OBP
Ryan BraunMIL1023636.261.357
Charlie CutlerSTL111001.0001.000
Ike DavisNYM21551815.327.431
Cody DeckerSD26300.500.500
Adam EhrlichSTL30000-1.000
Nate Freiman*HOU/OAK25541319.241.268
Sam FuldTB820514.250.286
Adam GreenbergBAL21000.000.000
Ben GuezDET11000.000.000
Ian KinslerTEX24631419.222.292
Ryan LavarnwayBOS1644606.136.188
Jake LemmermanSTL11000.000.000
Joc PedersonLAD710101.100.182
Kevin PillarTOR79100.111.111
Josh SatinNYM1211503.455.647
Maxx TissenbaumSD44103.250.400
Danny ValenciaBAL17311014.323.417
Kevin YoukilisNYY185014614.280.339
* Now with Oakland A's
Source: Jewish Baseball News collection of data from MLB.com, baseball-reference.com, and cbssports.com.

 

PITCHING

Among the six Jewish pitchers who played in at least one spring training game (see below), these ones stood out:

  • Houston Astros prospect Josh Zeid went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in six relief appearances, held opposing players to a .235 batting average, and drew 3.33 times as many groundouts as flyouts.
  • San Diego Padres veteran Jason Marquis went 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA in six starts and held opponents to a .239 batting average.
  • Toronto Blue Jays prospect Michael Schwimer earned a 3.00 ERA in three relief appearances and limited opposing teams to a .182 batting average.
  • Scott Feldman stood out for less desirable reasons. The newly-minted Chicago Cub went 0-3 with an 11.25 ERA, gave up nearly 2 hits per inning, yielded 7 HRs, and got lit up by opposing batters to the tune of a .396 average.

Final pitching stats, 2013 MLB Spring Training

 
 
TEAM
W
L
ERA
G
IP
H
BB
SO
1Jeremy BleichNYY000.0010.1000
2Scott FeldmanCHC0311.25620.038617
3Jason MarquisSD113.74621.2211515
4Danny Rosenbaum*COL214.5068.0930
5Michael SchwimerTOR003.0033.0224
6Josh ZeidHOU101.5066.0442
* Now with Washington Nationals
Source: Jewish Baseball News collection of data from MLB.com, baseball-reference.com, and cbssports.com.

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Danny Valencia (mlb.com)

Danny Valencia (mlb.com)

Nate Freiman (mlb.com)

Nate Freiman (mlb.com)

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

A flurry of roster moves is taking place as Spring Training player evaluations near an end.

The Oakland A’s picked up Nate Freiman on Saturday (3/23/2013) after the Houston Astros put him on waivers. The 26-year-old first baseman, who dominated opposing pitchers during Team Israel’s World Baseball Classic bid last year, hit .278 for Houston during Spring Training, with 1 HR, two doubles, no walks and 7 whiffs in 36 at-bats.

According to MLB.com, the A’s are considering Freiman for a potential platoon job at first base. Acquired by the Astros in the Rule 5 postseason draft, the 6-foot-8, 250-pounder hit .298 with 24 HRs and 105 RBIs  for the San Diego Padres’ double-A team in 2012.

As Jewish Baseball News contributor Zev Ben Avigdor points out in his minor-league Twitter feed, Freiman joins a franchise rich in Jewish players, including pitchers Max Perlman and Jeff Urlaub and catcher Nick Rickles.

Danny Valencia‘s bid to start the 2013 season on the Baltimore Orioles’ roster ended Thursday (3/21/2013) when he was reassigned to the Norfolk Tides, the franchise’s triple-A team. The move came despite a strong Spring in which the 28-year-old third baseman hit .323 with 1 HR and 4 RBIs in 31 at-bats and had a .417 on-base percentage. He hit a game-winning HR in Tuesday’s (3/19/2013) 8-7 win over the Boston Red Sox.

According to the Baltimore Sun:

The 28-year-old Valencia entered camp as a possible right-handed designated hitter because of his .316/.359/.472 career batting line against right-handed pitching. He also competed for a utility infield spot this spring, playing both third base and first base.

The Sun also noted that during the offseason, Valencia‘s name ”appeared on a list tied to a Miami-area anti-aging clinic that is being investigated by MLB for supplying major league players with performance-enhancing drugs. Valencia addressed the report on the first day of camp, denying that he’s ever used PEDs.”

Pittsburgh Pirates prospect (and one-time Major Leaguer) Aaron Poreda was released earlier this month by the club’s double-A team, the Altoona Curve. The 26-year-old hurler started three games for the Curve in 2012, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. Poreda played briefly in 2009 for the San Diego Padres and the Chicago White Sox.

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By Scott Barancik/Jewish Baseball News

It’s been a busy off-season so far for Jewish ballplayers.

The Boston Red Sox recently dealt 3B Danny Valencia to the Baltimore Orioles for cash. Though the 28-year-old Valencia had a tough 2012 season with the Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and their respective AAA teams, the Orioles reportedly are interested in using him against left-handed pitchers, against whom he has a career MLB batting average of .316.

The Chicago Cubs signed free agent Scott Feldman to a one-year, $6-million deal. Chicago plans to add the 6-foot-6-inch, 29-year-old southpaw to its starting rotation. Feldman had been with the Texas Rangers since the franchise drafted him in 2005.

Earlier this week, the New York Yankees offered 3B Kevin Youkilis a one-year, $12-million contract. Acquired midseason in 2012 by the Chicago White Sox, the 33-year-old infielder spent years as a Yankee killer while starring for the rival Boston Red Sox. No word yet on whether he will accept the offer.

The Colorado Rockies stole pitching prospect Danny Rosenbaum from the Washington Nationals, which had left him unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. The third overall pick in that draft, Rosenbaum spent 2012 with the Harrisburg Senators (AA), where he went a disappointing 8-10 with a 3.94 ERA. The 25-year-old lefty had posted ERAs of 1.95, 2.25, and 2.52 from 2009-11.

Also taken in the Rule 5 draft was former San Diego Padres prospect Nate Freiman, A 6’7″ slugger who led the Texas League in RBIs in 2012 and starred for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, Freiman was nabbed by the Houston Astros.

Under draft rules, the Rockies and Astros must keep Rosenbaum and Freiman on their respective Major League rosters for the entire 2013 season. If they don’t, they must offer the players back to their former teams for a trivial cash sum. Thus there’s a decent chance both players will make their MLB debut sometime in 2013.

Jewish Baseball News wishes to thank contributing writer Zev Ben Avigdor and TheGreatRabbino.com‘s Jeremy Fine for keeping us posted on player transactions.

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