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Thread: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

  1. #46
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Those are averages of a bunch of glove men. If he's going to play SS, he better do a whole lot better than that or become a lot more rangey with better hands and a stronger arm.
    How many times did you see him play this year? Or last year?

    As for the 'glove men' you speak of, that list was made up of Hanley Ramirez, Orlando Cabrera, Michael Young, Jose Reyes, Derek Jeter, Miguel Tejada, Stephen Drew, Ryan Theriot.... you know, all of those fantastic glove guys who are all below average defenders.

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  3. #47
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    As for the 'glove men' you speak of, that list was made up of Hanley Ramirez, Orlando Cabrera, Michael Young, Jose Reyes, Derek Jeter, Miguel Tejada, Stephen Drew, Ryan Theriot.... you know, all of those fantastic glove guys who are all below average defenders.
    And most have bats far superior to what Valaika projects to be. For how his bat projects, he'd better be better than those guys defensively. I hope you are right and he is. The Reds could use a MI that can play MI. Right now they only have Brandon Phillips.

    I was disgusted enough watching Jeff Keppinger, Ken Griffey JR and David Ross last year (enough that I barely even noticed Dunn and EdE who are also really bad), that I don't want any players being projected to key defensive spots unless they are plus defenders. I haven't heard anything about Valaika's defense except questions as to whether its good enough. My take is that if a guy is going to play up the middle, there should be no question.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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  4. #48
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    So he has to hit like a Hall of Fame 2b while at SS to be considered a good prospect. Got it.

    Just so there's no pressure or undue expectations or anything.

    Seriously, Valaika's D rates are above average at this point in his minor league career. He's much better statistically than noted gloveman Jose Castro last season while at SS on the same team. Other Cincinnati minor league SS with better reputations (Janish and Cozart) put up similar numbers, though Valaika's grades out as better.

    The fact that one scout questioned his athleticism and everyone's taking that report for gospel strikes me as ludicrous. Looking at it from the top down, Walt Jocketty has determined defense to be one of his top prioritites as GM. This same GM has a reputation for valuing defense in his prior stops as a GM for a defensively solid major league franchise.

    This GM, given the choice, mind you, determined that Valaika sticking at SS was really important to him over the AFL season. Now, if Valaika is a poor SS, as almost all Redzoners claim, why wouldn't Jocketty attempt to raise his trade value by having him learn 2b, thereby becoming a solid middle infield bat for an interested other team?

    The best statistics available on D in the minor leagues pegs Valaika as a solid SS. The Cincinnati GM pegs him as a solid SS.

    I would think he'd be considered a solid SS by Redszone as well. But, then again, what do I know?
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  5. #49
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    The best statistics available on D in the minor leagues pegs Valaika as a solid SS.
    Just to clarify, I am not making an evaluation on Valaika's defense. I'm making an evaluation on his offense, and that evaluation has lead me to believe that Valaika needs to be a capable defensive middle infielder to be a everyday MLB player. I don't think his bat is good enough to carry a poor glove, and I don't think it's good enough to play at 3B. If he can be a good defender at SS or 2B, I think he's a solid prospect. If he can't, then I don't. I'm not a scout, so my source on his defense is scouting reports - most of what I've read says he will eventually have to move off of SS.

    Also, what source are you using for minor league defensive statistics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    So he has to hit like a Hall of Fame 2b while at SS to be considered a good prospect. Got it.
    I'm pretty certain you are aware that nobody is saying anything resembling this, so I'm not sure what is the point of posting it.

  6. #50
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    My source is baseball-reference.com

    Who is your source, if you don't mind me asking, as to his scouting report? What have you read, from credible major league scouts, that leads you to believe he can't play SS? Specifically from scouts, I mean, and not from posters on message boards.

    Then, remember that Valaika's lost 15 pounds to improve his supposedly poor range and check to see if those reports are from college or the draft. If so, those reports are over two years old at best.

    If you have kids, would you trust a report card that is over two years old?

    Most of Redszone would, apparently.

    If he was Brandon Phillips on defense, I wouldn't have any problem with how his offense projects, but if he's going to play defense like Jeff Kent, he needs to hit like Jeff Kent or he's inadequate.
    Read the posts. Not more than 5 posts above this one, mth described what he would consider an acceptable middle infield offensive player.
    Last edited by Scrap Irony; 11-09-2008 at 03:42 PM.
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  7. #51
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    So he has to hit like a Hall of Fame 2b while at SS to be considered a good prospect. Got it.

    Just so there's no pressure or undue expectations or anything.

    Seriously, Valaika's D rates are above average at this point in his minor league career. He's much better statistically than noted gloveman Jose Castro last season while at SS on the same team. Other Cincinnati minor league SS with better reputations (Janish and Cozart) put up similar numbers, though Valaika's grades out as better.

    The fact that one scout questioned his athleticism and everyone's taking that report for gospel strikes me as ludicrous. Looking at it from the top down, Walt Jocketty has determined defense to be one of his top prioritites as GM. This same GM has a reputation for valuing defense in his prior stops as a GM for a defensively solid major league franchise.

    This GM, given the choice, mind you, determined that Valaika sticking at SS was really important to him over the AFL season. Now, if Valaika is a poor SS, as almost all Redzoners claim, why wouldn't Jocketty attempt to raise his trade value by having him learn 2b, thereby becoming a solid middle infield bat for an interested other team?

    The best statistics available on D in the minor leagues pegs Valaika as a solid SS. The Cincinnati GM pegs him as a solid SS.

    I would think he'd be considered a solid SS by Redszone as well. But, then again, what do I know?
    Let me say this a different way. When I hear people talk about Valaika, I hear two qualifiers being used repeatedly. Concerning his offense, the term "For a SS" or "For a 2B" is always invoked to describe why his bat is so good. If the guy was a strong defender, that would be enough to get me excited. But, when the conversation turns to his defense, I consistently hear, "if he can stick at SS" or "if he can play 2B."

    So, we're left with a guy who has a bat that isn't strong enough to qualify him as a top prospect on its own. Its coupled with the qualifier about him playing a certain position. Next we turn right around and question whether he'll be able to play that position. That isn't a prospect. That, IMO, is a suspect. His bat isn't good enough on its own, and his glove may not be good enough to play a position where his bat would justify playing time. He could still be a decent player, but don't expect me to consider the guy a top 5 prospect in the organization. If, he proves capable on defense or if his bat takes it to the next level, then he is. Right now, IMO, he isn't. The Reds have strong defenders who may have the bat for their positions like Stubbs, Dickerson, Cozart, Francisco and Heisey. They also have some guys who have the offense no matter the position like Alonso, Frazier, Soto and Dorn. Add some pitchers who project to be fairly useful w/o such a confluence of things going right from this point and Valaika falls into the teens as far as prospects go IMO. Too much of a tweener for me. Hopefully I'm wrong. I'd love to see the Reds improve their depth in the MI. They really need it.
    Last edited by mth123; 11-09-2008 at 04:12 PM.
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  8. #52
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    My source is baseball-reference.com

    Who is your source, if you don't mind me asking, as to his scouting report? What have you read, from credible major league scouts, that leads you to believe he can't play SS? Specifically from scouts, I mean, and not from posters on message boards.

    Then, remember that Valaika's lost 15 pounds to improve his supposedly poor range and check to see if those reports are from college or the draft. If so, those reports are over two years old at best.

    If you have kids, would you trust a report card that is over two years old?

    Most of Redszone would, apparently.



    Read the posts. Not more than 5 posts above this one, mth described what he would consider an acceptable middle infield offensive player.
    Yes I did. And if Jeff Kent didn't hit like Jeff Kent, I wouldn't let him play in the MI on my team. Defense up the middle is too important and I'd rather have a good glove with a .725 OPS than a mediocre glove for a marginal upgrade. I'd need a big time upgrade to choose the offensive player over the defensive player. Its the same reason a guy like Todd Walker (a guy that I think is a pretty good comp for Valaika offensively though Walker had better OBP skills than we've seen from Valaika) could never hold down a regular job year in and year out and always seemed to be a guy his teams were trying to replace.

    I guess you could read into it that I'm saying the guy would need to be a Hall of Famer if you want, but I certainly never said a guy had to be a Hall of Famer to be a good prospect in the MI. You put those words in my mouth.
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  9. #53
    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    And most have bats far superior to what Valaika projects to be. For how his bat projects, he'd better be better than those guys defensively. I hope you are right and he is. The Reds could use a MI that can play MI. Right now they only have Brandon Phillips.

    I was disgusted enough watching Jeff Keppinger, Ken Griffey JR and David Ross last year (enough that I barely even noticed Dunn and EdE who are also really bad), that I don't want any players being projected to key defensive spots unless they are plus defenders. I haven't heard anything about Valaika's defense except questions as to whether its good enough. My take is that if a guy is going to play up the middle, there should be no question.
    Actually Michael Young as I have pointed several times is considered an offensive SS and Valaika's #'s project to be better than Youngs with potentially better defense even at SS. I say potentially because Young's glove is a tick better but Valaika's range and arm are comparable. And Michael Young's power improved between 23-24 whereas Valaika (22) has not yet reached that next level where his power increases. It may take longer than that perhaps but as it sits right now his power #'s are better than Young's post increase.
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  10. #54
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    My source is baseball-reference.com

    Who is your source, if you don't mind me asking, as to his scouting report? What have you read, from credible major league scouts, that leads you to believe he can't play SS? Specifically from scouts, I mean, and not from posters on message boards.
    So you are just looking at range factor and fielding percentage? I put next to no stock in those numbers, whether they are good or bad.

    Any scouting reports I've read on Valaika are things that were linked on this board over the past couple of seasons. The general theme of the things I've read about Valaika are that he is not going to play SS in the majors. Could those reports be wrong, or could Valaika have improved defensively? Sure, but I have no idea if that's the case or not. If you have recent scouting reports that say his defense is good enough to play SS at the MLB level, I'd love to look at them.

  11. #55
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    Quote Originally Posted by SMcGavin View Post
    So you are just looking at range factor and fielding percentage? I put next to no stock in those numbers, whether they are good or bad.

    Any scouting reports I've read on Valaika are things that were linked on this board over the past couple of seasons. The general theme of the things I've read about Valaika are that he is not going to play SS in the majors. Could those reports be wrong, or could Valaika have improved defensively? Sure, but I have no idea if that's the case or not. If you have recent scouting reports that say his defense is good enough to play SS at the MLB level, I'd love to look at them.
    Then you should have read more threads because its already been noted several times this season that scouts have noted that Valaika's range has improved at SS thanks in part to him coming into the season lighter.

  12. #56
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario-Rijo View Post
    Actually Michael Young as I have pointed several times is considered an offensive SS and Valaika's #'s project to be better than Youngs with potentially better defense even at SS. I say potentially because Young's glove is a tick better but Valaika's range and arm are comparable. And Michael Young's power improved between 23-24 whereas Valaika (22) has not yet reached that next level where his power increases. It may take longer than that perhaps but as it sits right now his power #'s are better than Young's post increase.
    We differ on Valaika's projections. Michael Young had 4 seasons in a row in 2004 to 2007 of .836, .898, .815, and .784. I'd project Valaika to be comparable to the 2007 and 2008 versions with OPS numbers of .784 and .741.

    I think a typical Valaika year will be .275/.335/.425/.760. When BABIP goes his way he could break .800 I suppose. He'd still need to be a pretty good defender before I'd consider those numbers good enough to be in my line-up in the MI every day. They probably look good for a fantasy team, but defense up the middle is what gets a pitching staff through a 162 game season successfully. I'd rather have a .725 OPS who helps my pitching staff get off the field. If his defense proves him to be a guy that can do that, then he's a pretty good player.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

  13. #57
    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    We differ on Valaika's projections. Michael Young had 4 seasons in a row in 2004 to 2007 of .836, .898, .815, and .784. I'd project Valaika to be comparable to the 2007 and 2008 versions with OPS numbers of .784 and .741.

    I think a typical Valaika year will be .275/.335/.425/.760. When BABIP goes his way he could break .800 I suppose. He'd still need to be a pretty good defender before I'd consider those numbers good enough to be in my line-up in the MI every day. They probably look good for a fantasy team, but defense up the middle is what gets a pitching staff through a 162 game season successfully. I'd rather have a .725 OPS who helps my pitching staff get off the field. If his defense proves him to be a guy that can do that, then he's a pretty good player.
    You are comparing Youngs Major League #'s to Valaika's minor league #'s? Well then I guess I understand how you could come to that conclusion by using that comparison. Compare both minor league #'s and you'll see what I mean.

    I agree about having superior defenders up the middle, I prefer them as well. That said we will just have to wait and see how well he plays defense at the major league level, my guess is that you will find his defense suitable enough with what he brings to the table offensively. He may not be ideal defensively but that is far from him being a negative on defense.

    All of that stated his value as a prospect is greater than what you are giving him credit for w/ regards to who you have in front of him. I realize you don't have to take anyones word for it, but just remember that I said that.
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  14. #58
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Then you should have read more threads because its already been noted several times this season that scouts have noted that Valaika's range has improved at SS thanks in part to him coming into the season lighter.
    His range has improved from what it was, or he is going to be an average or better defensive MLB shortstop? Those things are far from the same.

    Anyway, this topic is extremely cumbersome since I've not even trying to make a judgement on Valaika's defense. Thus I find myself repeatedly being asked to defend a position I don't necessarily support. This will be my last post on the subject of Valaika's D. I'll leave with the statement that I made in my first post in this thread, one that I thought made my position pretty clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by SMcGavin
    If Valaika can play a good 2B, he's a solid prospect... If he has to move out of the middle infield, he's more than likely not an everyday player.

  15. #59
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    Re: Who is Redszone's #11 prospect?

    Shooter,
    His range has improved to the point that people are beginning to question long-held ideas about Valaika playing a position has has played well for three years now because he has lost some weight and learned, through hard work, how to position himself better as a professional. His range now plays as at least adequate and perhaps a step beyond adequate, but his arm is now questionable because, hey, you can't have everything you want in life. And Range Factor is the only defensive metric we have to compare players in the minor leagues. (At least it's the only one I know of. Perhaps someone else has another, better stat.) However, as a stat to compare players from the same team on the same fields playing behind the same pitching staff (relative, on all counts, of course), it is relevant for a comparison. Jose Castro was considered a great defensive prospect just last off-season. All Valaika did was make one more play per game than did the former Met farmhand.

    What does that tell us?

    It is my belief that Valaika has better range (and a better all-around game) than scouts had previously given him credit. It happens a lot, believe it or not. Kids get a reputation and, instead of looking at it logically and trying to determine if that reputation is indeed valid, scouts (fans, and sometimes, GMs) take the easy way out and espouse "the company line".


    Two things, mth, I think we disagree on fundamentally:

    1) Valaika's projections
    Whereas I see a 300+ hitting middle infielder with 15-25 homer potential, you see Todd Walker. If Valaika can play SS like Michael Young, I'll take Todd Walker all day long and twice on Sunday offensively. That's just below All Star level production in a middle infielder, similar to Carlos Guillien, Young himself, and John Valentin, from the past 20 years or so. As you know (and infer from your posts aboe), you don't need great bats at every position and this team has some good bat. I maintain it doesn't have enough god bats, especially with Phillips at 2B (and in a poor spot in the batting order for his skills), the black hole that LF is looking to be, and the questions surrounding both CF and C. I figure a bat like Todd Walker's is exactly what this team could use up the middle. That's a really, really valuable piece to a winning team, IMO.

    2) Importance of defense up the middle
    I love a guy-- like Barry Larkin-- who could field and hit equally well. But there's a reason Barry's a Hall of Famer. Guys like him don't come around very often. And it's not like teams can't carry a decent glove (as Valaika projects to be) and a plus bat at SS and succeed. We've seen 15 years of Yankee dominance that proves that point. (Not that I'm saying Valaika is in any way, shape, or form Jeter-like offensively.) So, too, did Boston's recent move to dynasty-like prominence (Lugo and, before that, Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, and out own AGon), the A's with Tejada (and Bubba Crosby), the LA Angels (with the aforementioned Cabrera) and a whole host of other recent teams. A good but not great glove man has been proven to be valuable. Great glove men, meanwhile, who lack sticks, are a means to nowhere-ville in today's game.

    The last great glove man to man SS for a team to win the World Series? Raphael Belliard, I think, with Atlanta. (Do you consider Juan Uribe a great glove? If so, the White Sox team from three years ago might fit the bill.) Most SS for WS champs are, like Valaika, solid defensively and at least close to a plus offensively.

    And, on another completely unrelated note, I apologize if I seemed to put words in your mouth about Jeff Kent, though I hope we'd both agree on how valuable a bat like Kent's would be at second (or short) on this particular Red team.
    Last edited by Scrap Irony; 11-09-2008 at 08:31 PM.
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