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Browsing Posts tagged Danny Valencia

valencia old newBy Scott Barancik, editor

Danny Valencia, who was as shocked as his fans were when the Toronto Blue Jays designated him for assignment on Saturday (8/1/2015), has been claimed off waivers by the Oakland Athletics.

The 30-year-old Florida native was hitting .296 with 7 HRs, 13 doubles, and 29 RBIs in 162 at-bats when the Blue Jays decided to move him off the team’s roster. A versatile utility man who spent most of his time in left field this season but also manned right field, third base, second base and first base, Valencia will join Ike Davis and Sam Fuld on what now will be this season’s most Jewish major-league team.

Valencia is losing a lot, too. In leaving Toronto, he gives up a clubhouse he loves, an exciting and highly-productive Jewish duet with teammate Kevin Pillar, and a 55-52 team whose playoffs chances rose with this week’s acquisition of ace pitcher David Price. The A’s, by contrast, are last in the A.L. West with a 47-60 record.

But Valencia is nothing if not resilient, having played for five teams since his 2010 debut with the Minnesota Twins, when he finished third in voting for A.L. Rookie of the Year.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Matt Holliday’s misfortune has proved opportune for two Jewish ballplayers.

Thanks to the Cardinals outfielder’s injury — sorry, Matt — Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson will replace him in the National League’s starting lineup at Tuesday’s All-Star Game (7/14/2015), and Brewers veteran Ryan Braun will replace Holliday as a reserve on the roster. It’s Braun’s sixth career All-Star nod, but his first since his a 2013 drug suspension. The 31-year-old LF celebrated Sunday with his 16th HR.

Might Braun and Pederson end up in the outfield together sometime Tuesday night?

The All-Star Game isn’t the only occasion for a Pederson/Braun mash-up. In the 6th inning of Friday’s Dodgers-Brewers game, Pederson dropped a single in front of Braun to break up a Milwaukee no-hitter. Pederson’s RBI double in the 7th proved the game-winner.

Dynamic Jew-o: A 6th-inning defensive replacement Saturday, Blue Jays 3B Danny Valencia went 1-for-2 with a 3-run HR. Teammate Kevin Pillar singled, walked twice, and swiped a base in Toronto’s 6-2 win over Kansas City.

The Valencia/Pillar show resumed Sunday. Pillar tripled, doubled in Valencia, and tossed out Eric Hosmer when the Royals 1B tried to stretch a single into a double. Valencia singled and smacked a 2-run double.

Atlanta’s Ryan Lavarnway walked and hit a solo HR Saturday, his first round-tripper since Sep. 4, 2013.

Ian Kinsler, third in career doubles among MLB Jews, hit two Friday to give him 20 for the season. On Sunday, he stroked three singles.

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Danny Valencia
(MLB.com)

By Scott Barancik, editor

Danny Valencia has seen limited playing time this season, starting just 22 of Toronto’s 75 games through Friday (6/27/2015), and only now reaching 100 at-bats. But research by Jewish Baseball News suggests Toronto manager John Gibbons couldn’t ask for much more from a utility/platoon player.

To try to capture the universe of utility/platoon players, we looked at MLB players who had accumulated fewer than 200 at-bats thru 6/26/2015. An overbroad grouping, to be sure, but it was the best we could come up with on the spot.

So how is the 30-year-old Valencia doing when measured against this group?

Among A.L. and N.L. players with 75 to 200 at-bats through Friday, the 30-year-old Miami native’s .330 average ranked second only to teammate Chris Colabello, who’s not really a utility/platoon player. (Since his call-up from Triple-A a month into the season, Colabello has started 45 of Toronto’s 48 games.)

MLB: Batting average leaders with 75-to-200 at-bats (thru 6/26/2015)

Rank
Player
AB
BA
1Chris Colabello175.343
2Danny Valencia100.330
3Joey Butler163.325
4David Murphy145.324
5Jacoby Ellsbury148.324
6Yonder Alonso168.321
7Yasmany Tomas196.316
8Justin Turner174.316
9Yasiel Puig107.308
10Mitch Moreland196.306
11Josh Phegley95.305
12Nick Hundley194.304
13Maikel Franco152.303
14Matt Holliday178.303
15Francisco Cervelli192.302
16Brandon Barnes106.302
17Ezequiel Carrera100.300
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com

Valencia ranks high in RBI productivity. At one RBI per 4.76 at-bats, he trailed only L.A.’s Justin Turner and Baltimore’s Matt Wieters as of Friday.

MLB: RBI productivity leaders with 200 or fewer at-bats (thru 6/26/2015)

Rank
Player
AB
RBI
ABs per RBI
6Bryan Holaday44123.67
1Justin Turner174354.97
2Matt Wieters48104.80
3Danny Valencia100214.76
4Alex Guerrero141304.70
5Travis d'Arnaud71174.18
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com

Valencia also has shown impressive power. In 100 at-bats, he’s hit 4 HRs and 11 doubles, good enough for a .560 slugging percentage.

MLB: Slugging leaders with 75-to-200 at-bats (thru 6/26/2015)

Rank
Player
AB
SLG
1Maikel Franco152.572
2Justin Turner174.569
3Josh Phegley95.568
4Danny Valencia100.560
5Randal Grichuk136.559
6Alex Guerrero141.546
7Ryan Raburn107.542
8Ben Paulsen109.532
9Chris Colabello175.514
10Carlos Correa78.513
11Corey Dickerson127.512
12Mitch Moreland196.510
13Eduardo Nunez89.506
Source: JewishBaseballNews.com

Though not considered a high-level fielder, Valencia is versatile, having played five positions so far in 2015. And he hasn’t made a single error at any of them.

The NBA has its Sixth Man of the Year award. If the MLB had a 10th Man award, Danny Valencia would be a top candidate this season.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

Now here’s something you don’t see very often: two Jewish players, both centerfielders, smacking 2 HRs apiece on the same day.

Dodgers phenom Joc Pederson and Toronto’s Kevin Pillar accomplished the rare feat Tuesday night. Pederson hit the more prodigious bombs, launching a 477-foot monster in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Colorado and a 472-foot shot in Game 2.

The 23-year-old Palo Alto native added his first Major League triple and drove in 4 RBIs overall. He has homered in 4 straight games and is tied for second in the N.L. with 16 round-trippers.

Pillar was the bigger surprise. Entering Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Nations with just 2 HRs in nearly 200 at-bats this season, the 26-year-old launched a solo shot in the 2nd inning and a 3-run shot in the 6th that plated teammate Danny Valencia, who contributed a double and a sacrifice fly Tuesday. Pillar didn’t his 2nd HR of 2015 until May 30.

(MLB.com)

(MLB.com)

Ryan Braun owns the record for HRs by a Jewish rookie, with 34 in 2007, and was named N.L. Rookie of the Year.  All-time Jewish home run leader Hank Greenberg hit 12 his rookie year (1933), and runner-up Shawn Green hit 15 in his (1995).

The all-time N.L. rookie record of 38 HRs is shared by Baltimore’s Frank Robinson (1955) and the Boston Braves’ Wally Berger (1930). With 16 HRs in the Dodgers’ first 52 games this season, Pederson is on pace to hit 50.

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By Scott Barancik, editor

As baseball fans celebrate Opening Day, Jewish Baseball News is taking a look back at the 21 Jews who participated in MLB Spring Training this year.

Fifteen position players and six pitchers saw playing time, some as full-fledged team members, others as non-roster invitees, and several via short-term stints. Their stats are shown at the bottom; players who made their franchise’s Opening Day roster are shown in bold.

Following are some of the Spring’s top stories.

  • It will take a lot more for him to earn back some fans’ trust and affection, but Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun — fresh from a 65-game suspension for taking performance-enhancing drugs — dazzled, hitting .417 with nine RBIs and eight extra-base hits in 36 at-bats.
  • Ike Davis and Josh Satin both made the Mets’ Opening Day roster and will share First Base duties with Lucas Duda. But Davis — who squeaked by with a .241 average in Spring Training — is among the candidates to be sent down later this week to make room for Jon Niese.
  • Nate Freiman‘s 11 RBIs ranked eighth on the A’s, but it wasn’t enough to make the team’s Opening Day roster. Meanwhile, teammate Sam Fuld wowed his way onto the roster with four triples, 7 RBIs and a .348 on-base percentage.
  • With Boston’s Craig Breslow starting the season on the disabled list, Scott Feldman is the only Jewish pitcher to make an Opening Day roster. He also was the only Jewish starter during spring Training. As a group, Jewish pitchers went 1-and-5.
  • After missing much of the past three seasons with surgeries and injuries, former Boston Red Sox OF Ryan Kalish earned a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster. Kalish hit .304 with 3 RBIs, stole 6 of 7 bases, and reached base 38.5% of the time.
  • Texas prospect Aaron Poreda earned some respect in his first MLB Spring Training since 2011. Poreda claimed one save in two chances, held opposing hitters to a .265 average, and walked just one batter over 8.1 innings.
  • Ian Kinsler, traded by Texas during the off-season for Detroit’s Cecil Fielder, outperformed “Big Daddy” with 3 HRs, 9 extra-based hits, 9 RBIs, a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen bases, a .300 average, and a .382 on-base percentage. Fielder matched Kinsler’s power (3 HRs, 9 extra-base hits, 10 RBIs) but hit .246 while striking out 16 times and drawing only two walks.
  • Ben Guez, a 27-year-old outfielder who spent part of the last four seasons with Detroit’s Triple-A club but has yet to be called up, made a brief but exciting splash in three Spring Training games. Against Toronto on 3/18/2014, Guez reached base all six times, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and three walks. His career MLB Spring Training average is a robust .529, along with a .692 on-base percentage.

 MLB Spring Training hitting, 2014

Team AB H 2B 3B HR RBI SB AVG OBP
Zach Borenstein LAA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 NA 1.000
Ryan Braun MIL 36 15 5 0 3 9 0 .417 .500
Ike Davis NYM 29 7 2 0 2 7 0 .241 .313
Cody Decker SDP 10 3 1 0 1 4 0 .300 .417
Nate Freiman OAK 42 10 2 1 1 11 0 .238 .327
Sam Fuld OAK 59 16 1 4 1 7 1-1 .271 .348
Ben Guez DET 7 5 2 0 0 2 0-1 .714 .818
Ryan Kalish CHC 46 14 1 0 0 3 6-7 .304 .385
Ian Kinsler DET 60 18 5 1 3 9 4-4 .300 .382
Ryan Lavarnway BOS 38 11 1 0 2 5 0 .289 .357
Jake Lemmerman SDP 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .500
Joc Pederson LAD 38 7 1 0 3 6 0 .184 .311
Kevin Pillar TOR 33 5 1 1 0 4 0-1 .152 .176
Josh Satin NYM 50 13 2 0 1 4 0 .260 .333
Danny Valencia KCR 48 11 1 0 1 4 1-1 .229 .327

Notes: Zach Borenstein walked in his only plate appearance

MLB Spring Training pitching, 2014

Team W L ERA G IP H BB SO AVG WHIP
Jeremy Bleich NYY 0 0 9.00 1 1.0 2 0 0 .500 2.00
Scott Feldman HOU 0 2 5.40 4 16.2 21 2 14 .292 1.38
Aaron Poreda TEX 0 1 3.24 8 8.1 9 1 8 .265 1.20
Danny Rosenbaum WAS 0 1 2.70 3 3.1 3 2 2 .300 1.50
Jeff Urlaub OAK 1 1 8.10 4 3.1 4 2 1 .333 1.80
Josh Zeid HOU 0 0 4.15 7 8.2 12 4 12 .333 1.85

Notes: Aaron Poreda earned one save in two chances; Josh Zeid earned a save in his sole opportunity. Boston’s Craig Breslow did not play, due to injury

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