38 thoughts on “Sebastian Valle scouting report

  1. Thanks for posting it here. Good stuff. We deinitely have a very solid top 6 prospects. There’s quite a bit of a drop off after Valle but there are plenty of very good prospects to choose from at that next level down. Valle will definitley stay at catcher because that’s where he has possible plus value.

  2. I would also like to say I really enjoy Mike’s website. I think he does a really good job and wish him well.

  3. Great scouting reports! Great to be able to read about Valle and J-Rod two very intriguing prospects that don’t get much press. These couldn’t have come at a better time, I’ve been craving prospect news for a few months now.

  4. Yeah, Mike’s site is great, and he does an excellent job giving nice, objective scouting reports. I really oughta check it out more frequently.

    – Jeff

  5. His swing looks pretty good. I went and watched some video of Tyson Gillies and I stand by picking him over Valle, though it’s becoming a coin toss in my mind. Valle seems like he could become a solid catcher with real power, not like 10-15 per year, but like 25-30 HR per year. Gillies is wildly fast and the scouting report said he is a solid line drive hitter, a good bunter, and a 50 steals kind of guy. Comparisons to Dave Roberts on the low side and Juan Pierre on the high side. If he turn out to be like Pierre was early in his career, that’s a game-changing table-setting kind of guy at the top of the lineup. Of course if Valle hits 25 HR, that’s a huge impact from a catcher. Happy to have both around the middle of the top ten, for sure.

  6. Finally J-Rod gets some recognition from amidst the pundit gangs.

    With all the praise swept over Cosart, Colvin, May and Biddle, it was too easy to skip over J-Rod while carrying those four on our shoulders.

    Others took note and were curious as to what this guy brought to the mound, goaded by the numbers he was throwing up as the season continued. There began to appear comments about him that were minimally informative and as such were confusing to me.

    Now we get some indications that he is an under-appreciated guy who allows us to lick our lips even more about the future pitching of this franchise at a time when our present great rotation is nearing its diminishing.

    Seems like J-Rod could give his Lakewood colleagues a run for the money as he gains leg strength and lengthens his stride. You can visualize his fast ball picking up at least 2 mph when he gets that done. His command seems to be no problem. The confusion in earlier reports was, for me, about whether he had a good enough (91s plus) fast ball or whether he was essentially a breaking ball pitcher. Question answered.

    He is just 19 (?) yrs old and plenty tall enough to throw on a good downward plane. With a gain in weight combined with the other above fixes this guy could turn out to be the hidden gem anmong 8th round choices of that draft. Plaudits to the scouting and coaching of the Phils.

  7. That’s a great writeup on J Rod. I currently have him at #16 but I may have to reconsider moving him up a few slots. J Rod, Biddle, Garner, and probably Nick Hernandez to start the year will give Lakewood another great rotation next year.

  8. Valle’s bat has really taken to starting in left field for Los Mochis. In his last 10 starts in left he is hitting .385 with an OPS of 1.242 for the Caneros.

  9. JRod had nice numbers last year at Lakewood. Anyone have an idea of what they think the clubs minor league affiliate rotations will be next year?

  10. I was just with a coworker about this:

    Clearwater: May, Colvin, Cosart, Pettibone, Shreve(?)
    Lakewood: Rodriguez, Hollands, Pettis,Pointer,Claypool(?)
    Williamsport: Walter, Musser, Pointer, Garner,?

  11. I think Mike caught (ha ha) Valle during a hot streak but he does appear to have legitimate power and seems like he could handle catcher. The 4th best position player in the league seems a bit to high given his other peripherals. Valle is still young and will likely move one level per year with improvement to face the better competition.

    Hopefully, between Valle and Rupp the Phillies can get one power hitter catcher to the bigs. Still would not mind a trade for Yanks’ Romine to really bolster that position.

  12. Valle seems like one of those guys who will struggle to post a .300 OBP but he’ll hit 20 HRs to make up for it.

  13. I would put Biddle @Lakewood w/Rodriguez, to start the year, Hollands, Buchanen, and Claypool.

    I think you might see Pettis get the jump (college player) to Clearwater and help out in the pen there.

  14. Left fielder Sebastian Valle just clubbed a long two run home run to right center to give Los Mochis a 2-0 lead. His 8th in Mexico and 27th of the year.

  15. Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you enjoyed the report on Valle. In a low level league, the statistical lines mean little when it comes to prospecting. It’s more about the tools/upside and Valle is extremely impressive in that sense. Yes, he still has thing to work on, but so does every other hitter at the level. He’s a VERY underrated prospect in my eyes and could take off with some refinement.

    As for Julio Rodriguez, Chris Blessing wrote that report after seeing him pitch during the season. I’ve known Chris for a few years now and really trust his baseball IQ from the conversations we’ve had and players we’ve both seen over the past couple of years.

    I also have reports and video on Hewitt, Castro, and May in the queue. Be on the lookout for those at some point.

    I’m a big fan of Phuture Phillies. Just a fantastic site with a very knowledgeable readership. Thanks again for reading.

  16. Mike Newman: Always good to hear from you. Great reports. I re-read all of them yesterday.

    I get the point on Valle and most Low A guys needing refinement. But there is a counterpoint to that. Poor plate discipline (pitch recognition, jitteriness, etc.) seem to be characteristic of certain hitters and not others, even at the Low A level. As a long-time fan, following minors for many years, I have seen very few cases of guys who have poor discipline early in their careers and then become .380 or even .340 OBP guys later on, meaning they take walks, recognize certain pitches and go the other way with two strikes and do all the other things that reduce their out percentage.

    It seems like discipline is a core ability or even a tool, if you will, inherent in the build and nature of a player, almost like speed or power. A guy like Rollins took several years to become incrementally more disciplined, and still gets into ruts where he goes fishing too much and becomes a much easier out than more disciplined hitters.

    I think a combination of factors can be responsible: relatively poor eyesight, poor eye-hand coordination (leading to too many swings and misses and therefore pitchers counts that put them in jeopardy), lack of confidence, and maybe the most important factor, the hitter’s mindset/attitude. Many hitters have been culturally ingrained to think that aggressiveness is the only hitting mindset you need. I agree hitters have to be aggressive, but they also have to know when to be aggressive.

    It’s much like a boxer. A winning fighter has to have an aggressive instinct, but the dumb but powerful guys who just flail in swinging roundhouses can be easily beaten by less powerful, smarter fighters. The guys who know how to box and punch, understand what the opponent is doing, and adopt a strategy that reduces the chances of opponent success, can than become aggressive at the moment when it has the best chance to succeed. A hitter’s task is much the same.

    I agree Valle looks like a big talent and will not be surprised to see him play in the majors. But I think his discipline may limit his ceiling, unless he is the rare zebra who can change his stripes. With good discipline, I see maybe a starting catcher, potential all-star. With poor discipline, Rod Barajas.

  17. Valle can be a valuable catcher in spite of that plate discipline. I ran a Play Index search for young batters with poor K/BB ratios and came up with Benito Santiago. That seems like a reasonable comparison.

  18. Alan, I was making a general point. Agree Benito Santiago being an achievable comp for Valle, although it is still very early to make these kinds of projects. That said, we like to do it anyway, and Santiago is a nice comp type. That is somewhere between star and Rod Barajas.

  19. Valle flashes leather in left in the third inning tonight in Los Mochis. Makes a grab off his shoe top on a line drive hit right at him. Great jump. Great catch.

  20. Hey Diamond,

    Great post! I agree with pretty much everything you said. It’s pretty simple with guys like Valle and Leandro Castro. The inherent aggressiveness comes from their having to hit, not walk their way out of the Dominican, Mexico, Venezuela, or any other foreign country organizations sign prospects from.

    A prospect like Valle is never going to lead the league in walks and his average will most likely be negatively affected by it. If you look at his numbers, he actually walked at a higher clip at every stop previously so I’m curious to see what happens in 2011. If he can raise his % by a point or two each season, he’ll be fine.

    If Valle was a 1B prospect, my valuation would be different. It’s the skill PLUS the position scarcity that really makes Valle click for me.

  21. Mike: I often wonder: Phils teach aggressive hitting. Nothing wrong with that as the core of a good hitting philosophy. You don’t want a team of hitters looking for walks. But you do want a team of hitters who know how to control the AB by not being suckered by outside/low breaking pitches or who are easy reads for any smart pitcher. Do Phils or any major league team specifically teach patience/plate discipline/pitch recognition/etc. Or do they think that it would confuse younger hitters, so let them stay aggressive all the time. The reason I wonder is that you would think a few more hitters–not all, but a few more–would become better hitters/OBP guys during their careers simply via good instruction.

    Another point to stress: Plate discipline is not just about taking walks. It’s about putting hitters into a position where they can expect and get a good pitch to drive by working the count. The more you put yourself in that position and then execute, the more elite an offensive player you are. It also has the side effect of putting general pressure on the other pitcher, so helps your teammates.

  22. For years the A’s taught plate discipline. Don’t know how successful they were overall. Their drafting strategy was unusual during that time period, too, drafting almost entirely college players. Both of these strategies were “billyball” implementations meant to take advantage of the “bargain” available in high OBP players. Most of these guys were pretty good minor league players who never quite made the grade in the big leagues, and after the publication of Moneyball the A’s had to revise their strategy, so I don’t think they’re placing as high an emphasis on OBP instruction as they used to.

  23. Best discussion ever on this site.

    As for the A’s I wonder how much better their ideas would of worked had
    they been able to start with younger,more talented players.

  24. Having watched Valle on a regular basis on the Net from Mexico the last several weeks during his hot streak, he can be a very discriminating hitter when the situation called for it. Saw him work a walk by fouling off a 3-2 pitch in a one run game which eventually set up the tieing run by moving the runner on first into scoring position. For the most part he is a free swinger. He likes to swing first pitch, fast ball so he sees a lot of breaking pitches early in the count. Last night he went 0 for 4 but the first time up he drove the ball to the base of the right field fence for a long out. It seems to me he needs to zone the ball better. The MPL pitchers like to work him away particularly with breaking balls . Work him middle in and he drives the ball hard. He uses the whole field which will make him a great hitter in CBP. He has hit his five homer the last 10 games to left and right center. Like to see what he can do against better pitching. When the speed gun is working on the Netcasts the pitchers are throwing in the high 80’s with very average off speed pitches. One of his homers was hit on a hanging curve middle in, belt high. He was struck out in one game by a lefty who came in throwing in the low 90’s.

  25. One thing to remember watching the Mexican Winter league is that its an extreme hitters league. The average runs/game is 5.04. Its like playing in Coors Field on a daily basis. Usual caveats about breaking pitches apply.

  26. Can u guys provide links as to where the video is? I took a quick look at MiLB and could not find game video links.

  27. Great report Mike. He reminds of a Brandon Inge/Dan Uggla type of hitter in his hand position and plane to the ball. He’ll be fun to watch where ever they decide to start him this season.

    We like to say in our program you can’t run you better be able to hit the ball a long way and Valle sure seems to have that tool.

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