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OnBaseMachine
10-14-2008, 06:04 PM
Valaika part of Reds' farm depth
Hot bat could be eventual ticket to job in the Majors

CINCINNATI -- Wherever shortstop Chris Valaika goes within the Reds' farm system, he hits.

That has been the case since his first professional season in 2006 with Billings. Valaika hit .338 that season and set a Pioneer League record with a 32-game hitting streak. The 23-year-old just completed his third year in the Reds' organization, split between Class A Sarasota and Double-A Chattanooga, and batted a combined .317 with 18 home runs and 81 RBIs.

Valaika, a .306 career hitter in the Minors, is one of eight up-and-coming Reds currently playing in the Arizona Fall League. In five games with the Peoria Javelinas, he is 4-for-18 (.222).

"He is one of our better infield prospects, for sure," Reds Minor League director Terry Reynolds said.

Cincinnati's third-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Valaika batted .363 with a .393 on-base percentage in 32 games with Sarasota this season. After moving up to Chattanooga, he batted .301 with a .352 OBP. He also played for the U.S. squad in the 2008 Futures Game during the All-Star break.

"He's been a very solid player for us since the day he signed," Reynolds said. "He adapted to the Southern League very well."

Judging by his 89 career walks compared to 277 strikeouts, Valaika likes trying to put the ball in play. He cut down his strikeout total somewhat this season to 102, compared to 114 in 2007.

It's likely that Valaika's bat will be his ticket to the Majors, but it wouldn't hurt him to cut down on his errors. He committed 25 errors in 123 games this season and 24 errors last season. The Reds have used Valaika exclusively at shortstop but would like to expand his abilities with some time at second base in the future.

The organization has started to sprout with some depth at shortstop with Valaika and Todd Frazier, who reached Sarasota this season but is becoming more versatile around the field. Paul Janish and Adam Rosales got tastes of the Majors this seasons. Injury-plagued veteran Alex Gonzalez, who missed all of this season with knee fracture surgery, is headed into the final year of his contract. That could open the door for someone like Valaika to make a move up by either late 2009 or 2010.

"I'm certainly not going to say he can't," Reynolds said. "He can make adjustments quickly. Everyone hopes Gonzalez is ready and he's our guy. But that being said, Valaika could follow that timetable. Everyone's preference is for him to get a full season in the Minors next year."

Valaika is expected to begin next season at either Double-A Carolina or Triple-A Louisville.

"We're comfortable that either way, he would hit," Reynolds said.

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081014&content_id=3619915&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

bubbachunk
10-14-2008, 06:08 PM
So we have depth of guys that don't project to stick at ss because of range? Or the only one that has legit range is Janish and he can't hit a lick.

dougdirt
10-14-2008, 10:01 PM
So we have depth of guys that don't project to stick at ss because of range? Or the only one that has legit range is Janish and he can't hit a lick.

Except you are completely forgetting about Zach Cozart who is a better shortstop than Janish is.

Orenda
10-15-2008, 10:20 AM
they have a review of the reds system on the milb site right now, someone should post it. They did a decent job, although there was no mention of Horst or Lotzkar.

bubbachunk
10-15-2008, 11:32 AM
Except you are completely forgetting about Zach Cozart who is a better shortstop than Janish is.

Doh :D. How far off is he though from realistically contributing?

camisadelgolf
10-15-2008, 01:10 PM
Doh :D. How far off is he though from realistically contributing?

He could get hot and rocket through the minors, but I'd expect to see him in Cincinnati in 2011.

RedlegJake
10-15-2008, 05:22 PM
Next year will tell a lot about Zach. He has the glove - if he can keep similar numbers in Sarasota at the plate the Reds have something. I agree with Camisadelgolf, though, I think it'll be 2011 before he's a candidate for the full time SS job. Likely see him in the second half or September of 2010 if he continues to progress. Low A however is still a long long way away unless a guy pops eyes there. Zach made a big step, though, just quieting some of the doubters who felt he'd never hit at any level. He and Mesaraco should arrive about the same time.

gedred69
10-15-2008, 06:54 PM
So we have depth of guys that don't project to stick at ss because of range? Or the only one that has legit range is Janish and he can't hit a lick.

Is Valaika range "Challenged", or is the problem fielding and/or throwing errors? I watched him in Dayton quite a bit, I never got the impression he had limited mobility or range. And, un-like Janish, he can flat out Hit!

AmarilloRed
10-15-2008, 08:01 PM
Is Valaika range "Challenged", or is the problem fielding and/or throwing errors? I watched him in Dayton quite a bit, I never got the impression he had limited mobility or range. And, un-like Janish, he can flat out Hit!

Valaika's problem is fielding and throwing errors. 24 in 2007, 21 last year. His range factor is above average for a SS. Don't know if you can compare the minors to the majors, but Valaika had a RF of 4.40 at AA, and the league average at MLB for a SS was 3.95. Keppinger by comparison had a RF of 3.62.

Will M
10-15-2008, 08:02 PM
Is Valaika range "Challenged", or is the problem fielding and/or throwing errors? I watched him in Dayton quite a bit, I never got the impression he had limited mobility or range. And, un-like Janish, he can flat out Hit!

My prediction:

Valaika will play 2B in the bigs. Either he or Phillips will be traded soon.

Mario-Rijo
10-15-2008, 10:37 PM
Valaika's problem is fielding and throwing errors. 24 in 2007, 21 last year. His range factor is above average for a SS. Don't know if you can compare the minors to the majors, but Valaika had a RF of 4.40 at AA, and the league average at MLB for a SS was 3.95. Keppinger by comparison had a RF of 3.62.

Regardless of the #'s what I saw at Dayton was a guy who could play it but did indeed have range problems. Not that he is Keppinger but he's not much better IMO. Of course when I think great range I think Ozzie, Larkin etc. Michael Young is passable although not much better than Keppinger and that is who I liken Valaika too. His arm is a bit short IMO as well just like Kepp.

Topcat
10-16-2008, 05:40 AM
Vailkia could be a Jeff Kent type guy ?

princeton
10-16-2008, 08:38 AM
Vailkia could be a Jeff Kent type guy ?

Jeff Treadway?

RedlegJake
10-16-2008, 10:49 AM
Jeff Treadway?


Vailkia could be a Jeff Kent type guy ?

Well there you have the basement and the ceiling.

princeton
10-16-2008, 11:07 AM
Well there you have the basement and the ceiling.

you don't want to know what the basement is.

lollipopcurve
10-16-2008, 11:27 AM
Valaika is a significantly better hitter than Treadway was, in my opinion. Lot more sock.

Mario-Rijo
10-16-2008, 06:31 PM
Valaika is a significantly better hitter than Treadway was, in my opinion. Lot more sock.

But not as much as Kent. I see him as sorta a RH version of Todd Walker perhaps a little better range and arm.

gedred69
10-19-2008, 09:07 PM
My prediction:

Valaika will play 2B in the bigs. Either he or Phillips will be traded soon.

Ah, agreed. I have often thought the same. Valaika is of good size, solidly built, and could well take the physical aspect of playing 2nd. He could be a deal closer (or Phillips), in a big trade. As much as I like Phillips, I'm tempted to bet on Valaika. So far anyway, he shows better plate attributes. (I like those .300 BAs).

Mario-Rijo
10-20-2008, 01:46 AM
But not as much as Kent. I see him as sorta a RH version of Todd Walker perhaps a little better range and arm.

Actually the more I look at it Valaika looks like he could be quite a bit better than Walker, he could be something alot like Michael Young.