Danny Valencia

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Danny Valencia
Danny Valencia on May 20, 2013.jpg
Tenure with the Baltimore Orioles
Kansas City Royals – No. 19
Third baseman
Born: (1984-09-19) September 19, 1984 (age 29)
Miami, Florida
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
June 3, 2010 for the Minnesota Twins
Career statistics
(through 2013 season)
Batting average .263
Home runs 33
Runs batted in 156
Teams

Daniel Paul Valencia (born September 19, 1984) is an American professional baseball third baseman for the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball. He has also played for the Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles.

In high school, he was all-county three times and all-state twice. At the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, he was Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, second-team all-conference, and on his all-regional team. He was drafted while he was a junior at the University of Miami by the Twins in the 19th round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft, the 576th player overall.

In the minors, Valencia was an All-Star in the Appalachian League (2006), the Midwest League (2007), and the Florida State League (2008). He entered the 2010 season ranked as the sixth-best prospect of the Twins by Baseball America.

Valencia made his major league debut with the Twins in June 2010. He was named the third baseman on Baseball America's 2010 All-Rookie Team, and on the 2010 Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team. In 2011, he led the Twins in RBIs, and led all major league third basemen in assists.

Early life[edit]

Valencia is Jewish, and was born in Miami, Florida.[1] His parents are Mindy Valencia, who is Jewish, and Jewish Cuban immigrant Michael Valencia, who converted to Judaism.[1][2][3] He grew up in Boca Raton, Florida. He was raised Jewish, and has said: "People are shocked at first that I’m Jewish. I get teased in the clubhouse about being Jewish, but we all get teased about something. Going to Hebrew school and being a bar mitzvah … made my mom really happy. I wished I had been out playing baseball, but looking back at it now, I’m happy I did it.”[4][5][6][7] Valencia has a sister, Laura.[8][9][10][11][12]

In 1996, Valencia pitched for the Boca Raton Babe Ruth League 12-and-under all-star baseball team that won the Florida state championship. The next year, he pitched and hit for the Boca Lightning 12-and-under travel baseball team that went 27–2 and won the South Florida All-Star Travel League championship.[13] His two key hitting coaches growing up were Bob Molinaro, a family friend who is a former major leaguer and Eastern League manager, and his mother Mindy.[14]

High school[edit]

Valencia played shortstop for four years for the Spanish River High School Sharks. He earned South Florida Sun-Sentinel All-County honors as a junior, and was named first team All-Palm Beach County three times and second-team All-State twice.[9][11][15][16] As a junior in 2002 he was Offensive Player of the Year after hitting .430, and as a senior in 2003 he hit .575.[9]

College[edit]

UNC-Greensboro[edit]

Although Valencia had dreamed of playing for the University of Miami, its baseball program did not recruit him, and instead he went to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, one of two teams that had offered him a full baseball scholarship. In his freshman year, Valencia played third base and batted .338 with a .527 slugging percentage and a team-leading 8 home runs.[9][10][16] He was the 2004 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, and was voted second-team All-Conference.[10]

University of Miami[edit]

Homesick for Florida, Valencia sought to transfer to the University of Miami after his freshman year, even though it only offered him a modest scholarship. UNC-Greensboro initially agreed to release Valencia from his scholarship, but later refused, placing him in jeopardy of losing a year of college eligibility under NCAA Division I rules. He appealed to a university committee which ruled in his favor, allowing him to leave while preserving his eligibility.[10][12]

During his sophomore year, Valencia played first base for the University of Miami Hurricanes alongside then-third-baseman Ryan Braun. He hit .300 and drove in 63 runs while batting fifth in the lineup, and was named to the All-Regional Team.[17][18] By his sophomore year of college, he had added 40 pounds.[9][11][18][19] "It's night and day" from UNC-Greensboro, said Valencia. "It's awesome. It's what every Florida kid dreams of. It's the program–the winning, the uniforms. Everything from the strength coach to the facilities is completely different."[18] During the summer of 2005, he played third base for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots in the Alaska Baseball League.[15]

When Braun left to join the Milwaukee Brewers' farm system in 2005, Valencia replaced him at third base for his junior year, batting .324 with a .475 slugging percentage.[15][20] Valencia hit .312 with 124 runs batted in (RBIs) in 122 games over two years with the Hurricanes, and played in the College World Series.[14] Valencia then played seven games for the Orleans Cardinals in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2006.[21]

Drafted in the 19th round of the 2006 draft by the Minnesota Twins, the 576th player overall, he skipped his senior year of college to begin his pro career.[22][23][24] Valencia was disappointed in his draft position, but said: "realistically, it does not change things for me. My goal has always been to get to the big leagues... It does not matter where you start, but where you finish."[25]

Minor league career (2006–10)[edit]

2006[edit]

In his first professional season, Valencia played first and third base with the Elizabethton Twins. He compiled a .311 batting average (ninth in the league, and fifth in the Twins' organization) and a .505 slugging percentage (sixth in the league), with eight home runs (fourth in the league) and 29 RBIs in 48 games. He was also fifth in the league in at-bats-per-home-run.[26] Valencia was named a 2006 Appalachian League Postseason All-Star, and then batted .364 in the playoffs.[27][28][29][29]

2007[edit]

Valencia was selected as a Midwest League All Star in 2007, while playing with the Beloit Snappers, for whom he batted .302/.374/.500.[24][30] His Beloit teammates nicknamed him "The Franchise".[31] Manager Jeff Smith lauded him for using the whole field when he batted, and for patience at the plate.[31]

Immediately following the All Star game, he was promoted to the high A Fort Myers Miracle. He earned Florida State League (FSL) "Player of the Week" honors, batting .379 (11–29) with two home runs, three runs scored, and 10 RBIs for the week of July 16. He hit a combined .297/.354/.462 with 17 homers and 66 RBIs at Beloit and Fort Myers.[32]

2008[edit]

Again assigned to the Miracle for the first half of 2008, he batted a league-leading .336 with a league-leading 74 hits, and five home runs and 44 RBIs (second in the league), a .402 on-base percentage, and a .518 slugging percentage. He was named a Florida State League All Star, and helped the Miracle capture the FSL 2008 Western Division first half crown.[33][34][35] Jim Rantz, director of minor leagues for the Twins, said that he expected Valencia would hit for both power and average.[33]

Danny Valencia with the Rock Cats (2008)

Valencia was promoted to the Twins' Double-A affiliate, the New Britain Rock Cats, for the second half of the season. With the Rock Cats, Valencia batted .289 with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs. Between the two teams, he batted .311 (sixth in the Twins' system), with 15 home runs and 76 RBIs (fourth in the Twins' system).[36][37]

2009[edit]

With the Rock Cats to start 2009, he was voted the Eastern League Player of the Week Award for the week ending May 24, after batting .444 with a .778 slugging percentage.[38] Rock Cats manager Tom Nieto said: "Danny's going to be a special player. He's got an electric bat."[14] He hit 38 doubles during the season, tied for the most in the Twins' organization.[39]

Following the season, he played 31 games of winter ball with the Arizona Fall League's Phoenix Desert Dogs. He spent spring training with the Twins in 2009 as a non-roster invitee, batting .429, and was assigned to New Britain following spring training.[40][41] Baseball America ranked him as the fifth-best prospect in the Twins' organization.[42]

During the 2009 season, Valencia first played for New Britain and was then promoted to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings. He batted a combined .285 with 14 home runs and 70 RBIs for the two teams. The Twins management indicated that it felt that Valencia would be one of the top position players of the future.[43][44][45] On November 20, 2009, he was added to the Twins' 40-man roster.[46] Rantz said: "We're still trying to fill the third-base hole. Eventually ... we're all hoping that [Valencia will] be that guy."[47]

He then played for the Indios de Mayagüez in the Puerto Rico winter league, and as a foreign-born player (of Cuban heritage) for Team Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series.[48][49] Twins general manager Bill Smith said in December: "I give Danny Valencia credit. He's down in Puerto Rico right now playing winter ball, and trying to get better.... You always want an underdog guy, somebody to step up when presented with an opportunity."[50] Hector Otero, the Twins scout who signed Valencia and who was the general manager of the Mayagüez club, said: "I think he is a talented player. He definitely can throw. He worked on his defense–worked extra before games–and everyone knows he can swing the bat."[51]

2010[edit]

Valencia entered the 2010 season ranked as the Twins' sixth-best prospect by Baseball America.[52] Valencia began 2010 playing third base for Rochester, and was batting .292 in 48 games when he was called up by the parent club.[53]

Major League career (2010–present)[edit]

2010[edit]

Assessing Valencia's hitting during 2010 spring training, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said: “I guarantee you one thing, he can hit a fastball; and if he sits on a breaking ball, he can hit that, too.”[54] On June 3, Valencia was called up to replace Michael Cuddyer, who had been placed on the bereavement list following the death of his father-in-law.[55] In his debut that day, he went 1 for 3.[56][57]

Valencia in 2011 at Target Field

On July 26, Valencia hit a grand slam off reigning AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke to record his first big league homer. The feat marked the first time in the 49 years of Twins franchise history that a player's first Major League home run was a grand slam. The game was also his first four-hit performance. The next day, Valencia became the first Twins rookie to have back-to-back games with four hits apiece.

In 2010, Valencia hit .394 with runners in scoring position. That was best in the AL (ahead of Josh Hamilton), among those with at least 75 plate appearances in that situation.[4][58][59] On defense, he had the fifth-best fielding percentage among AL third basemen (.973).[60]

For the season, his .311 batting average (the best by a Twins rookie in 46 years), .448 slugging percentage, and .799 OPS were the highest among AL rookies with 300 or more plate appearances.[4][61] He came in 3rd among AL rookies in hits (93) and total bases (134).[61] In 65 games after the All Star break, he led AL rookies in batting (.311), RBIs (37), and doubles (16).[62]

Valencia was named the third baseman on Baseball America's 2010 All-Rookie Team, and the third baseman on the 2010 Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team.[63][64] He was also named the Twins' Most Outstanding Rookie (the Bill Boni Award).[65] He came in third in the voting for 2010 AL Rookie of the Year, with one second-place vote and nine third-place votes.[62]

2011[edit]

In 2011, Valencia batted .246, with 15 home runs and a team-leading 72 RBIs.[66][66] On defense, he led the all major league third basemen in assists, with 260.[67]

2012[edit]

Danny Valencia; 2012

In 2012, Valencia was replaced by Trevor Plouffe as the team's everyday third baseman after mediocre play during the season.[68] After Plouffe was placed on the DL, Valencia made his return to the Twins roster on July 27.

He was hitting .205 with two home runs with the Twins when he was traded to the Boston Red Sox on August 5. Minnesota received minor league outfielder Jeremias Pineda in return.[69] The Red Sox immediately optioned Valencia to their Triple-A affiliate Pawtucket Red Sox. He was recalled from Pawtucket on August 11 when Will Middlebrooks was placed on the disabled list with a broken right wrist expected to end his season.[70] Valencia was sent back to Pawtucket on August 21,[71] before being recalled again on September 25.[72] He remained with the major league club for the rest of the season, while appearing in six games. On November 20, Valencia was designated for assignment along with four other Red Sox players.[73]

2013[edit]

Valencia was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations eight days later on November 28, 2012.[74]

Valencia was recalled from the Triple-A Norfolk Tides on August 19, 2013.[75]

He batted .304 for the season, with a .553 slugging percentage.[76] He was eligible for arbitration after the season.[77]

Valencia was traded to the Kansas City Royals for OF David Lough on December 18, 2013.

Awards[edit]

High School
College
  • 2004 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year
  • 2004 Second team All-Conference
  • 2005 All-Regional Team
Minors
Majors
  • 2010 Baseball America All-Rookie Team (3B)
  • 2010 Topps Rookie All-Star Team (3B)
  • 2010 Twins' Most Outstanding Rookie (the Bill Boni Award)

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Snyder, David (June 20, 2013). "Ready & Waiting". Baltimore Jewish Times. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Danny Valencia Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  3. ^ Peter Dreier. "How Will Jewish Ballplayers Handle the Yom Kippur Quandry?". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c David Elfin (September–October 2011). "Is this the Golden Age of Jewish Baseball?". Moment Magazine. Retrieved September 7, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Baseball as a cultural connection – Page 3". boston.com. December 9, 2010. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Fastballs not matzah balls, A sweet teen movie, ...". Jweekly. April 28, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Big League dreams come true". Ajwnews.com. September 1, 2010. Retrieved August 24, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Minnesota Twins Rookie is Jewish". Jewish Baseball News. July 1, 2010. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Player Bio: Danny Valencia – Miami Official Athletic Site". Hurricanesports.cstv.com. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c d Omar Kelly (February 11, 2005). "Future Investment; Transfer Danny Valencia Hopes To Garner Attention – And a Full Ride". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c "Hurricanes Baseball 2006; Danny Valencia". Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  12. ^ a b Jorge Milian (February 1, 2005). "Valencia Blossoms". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  13. ^ Heeren, Dave. "Articles about Danny Valencia by Date – Page 3". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c Dom Amore (May 29, 2009). "Valencia Maturing Quickly; Twins Have Big Expectations for Third Baseman of Rock Cats". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b c Alex Ordoqui (November 11, 2005). "Valencia Makes Switch Back to 3B". Canes Times. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Staff Reports. "Articles about Danny Valencia by Date – Page 4". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Hurricanes Rebound With 16–3 Win Against George Washington; 4-For-4: Jon Jay, Ryan Braun, Danny Valencia and Walter Diaz each have four hits against the Colonials". CSTV. February 27, 2005. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
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  19. ^ "Play Ball! – Miami Official Athletic Site". Hurricanesports.cstv.com. January 27, 2006. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  20. ^ "Danny Valencia Batting Statistics". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Cardinals get help from a Hurricane", Cape Cod Times, July 1, 2006, July 5, 2010
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  29. ^ a b "Elizabethtown Twins Season in Review", June 9, 2003. Retrieved July 5, 2010.
  30. ^ "Snappers have good, bad news; Beloit loses, but has six All-Stars," BDN Staff, The Beloit Daily News, June 6, 2007. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  31. ^ a b "Big finish for Beloit, Burnett; Alex Burnett hurls a pitch during the second inning Thursday night; Snappers' late surge gives starter first win", Rob Lucas, The Beloit Daily News, April 27, 2007. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
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  33. ^ a b La Velle E. Neal III (June 1, 2008). "Twins minor league report: Valencia looking good in Class A". The Star Tribune. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  34. ^ King, Chuck (June 19, 2008). "FSL Notebook: St. Lucie Mets look forward to 'starting fresh'". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
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  38. ^ "Eastern League Player of the Week Award winners announced". Stamfordplus.com. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
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  40. ^ Minnesota Twins Press Release. "Minnesota Twins Announce Spring Training Invites". Retrieved January 21, 2009. 
  41. ^ La Velle E. Neal III (May 23, 2009). "Valencia finds focus in Class AA". The Star Tribune. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  42. ^ "Rock Cats to kick off 2009 season at New Britain Stadium". Stamfordplus.com. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  43. ^ Slusser, Susan (August 1, 2009). "A's trade Cabrera to Twins". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
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  45. ^ Joe Christensen (August 6, 2009). "Gomez finds mentor in Cabrera". The Star Tribune. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  46. ^ Kelly Thesier (November 20, 2009). "Twins add six to fill out 40-man roster; Valencia, Guerra protected from Rule 5 Draft". Retrieved January 4, 2010. 
  47. ^ Lisa Winston (November 26, 2009). "Lots of stars waiting in the Twins' wings; There's serious talent growing in Minnesota's farm system". mlb.com. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  48. ^ Jesse Sanchez (February 5, 2010). "Valencia leads Puerto Rico past DR; Twins infield prospect goes 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs in victory". mlb.com. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  49. ^ "Harris, Punto each vying for Twins' 3rd base job". USA Today. February 28, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  50. ^ Kelly Thesier (December 8, 2009). "Twins' Hot Stove action shifts to hot corner; Club explores third-base options; Valencia in winter ball". mlb.com. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  51. ^ La Velle E. Neal III (February 28, 2010). "One step deserves another; Danny Valencia, one of the Twins' best prospects, is making steady progress toward a shot at a major league job.". The Star Tribune. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  52. ^ John Manuel (January 12, 2010). "Top 10 Prospects: Minnesota Twins". Baseball America. Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  53. ^ Joe Christensen (June 3, 2010). "Michael Cuddyer out 4 games; Danny Valencia up". The Star Tribune. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  54. ^ "Valencia can become Twins third baseman". The Democrat and Chronicle. March 22, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  55. ^ "Cuddyer to leave Twins after family death". USA Today. June 3, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  56. ^ "Hernandez confounds Twins to halt personal four-game slide", Associated Press, June 3, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  57. ^ "Minnesota Twins vs. Seattle Mariners – Recap – June 3, 2010". ESPN. June 3, 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2010. 
  58. ^ "Danny Valencia places 3rd in A.L. Rookie of the Year vote". Jewish Baseball News. November 12, 2010. Retrieved November 16, 2010. 
  59. ^ "2010 Regular Season MLB Baseball Batting Statistics – AL Players". ESPN. Retrieved November 16, 2010. 
  60. ^ "Danny Valencia Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  61. ^ a b "2010 Regular Season MLB Baseball Batting Statistics – AL Rookies". ESPN. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  62. ^ a b Kelly Thesier (November 15, 2010). "Valencia finishes third in AL ROY balloting; Twins third baseman showed promise after June callup". mlb.com. Retrieved November 16, 2010. 
  63. ^ Eddy, Matt (October 19, 2010). "Rookie Of The Year: Future Big League Stars Highlight All-Rookie Team". Baseball America. Retrieved October 23, 2010. 
  64. ^ Kelly Thesier (November 29, 2010). "Valencia awarded with rookie honor". mlb.com. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  65. ^ Kelly Thesier (November 3, 2010). "Mauer leads Twins' Diamond Award winners". mlb.com. Retrieved November 4, 2010. 
  66. ^ a b "Danny Valencia Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  67. ^ "2011 Major League Baseball Fielding Leaders". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  68. ^ Reynolds, Blair (June 13, 2012). "Trevor Plouffe Has Stepped Up at Right Time for Minnesota Twins: A Fan's Take". YahooSports.com. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  69. ^ "Twins trade Valencia to Red Sox". FoxSports.com. August 6, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  70. ^ "Boston Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks out for season with broken wrist". SportsIllustrated.com. August 11, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  71. ^ McDonald, Joe (August 21, 2012). "Padilla off DL; Valencia sent down". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  72. ^ Buchanun, Ben. "Red Sox Call Up Pedro Beato, Zach Stewart, Danny Valencia". Retrieved November 22, 2012. 
  73. ^ Aderhold, Nathan (November 20, 2012). "Red Sox designate, Stewart, De Jesus, Valencia, Carpenter and Rosario for assignment". MLB Daily Dish. 
  74. ^ Dan Connolly (November 28, 2012). "Orioles acquire INF Danny Valencia from Red Sox for cash considerations". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  75. ^ [1]
  76. ^ [2]
  77. ^ [3]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Gordon Beckham
Topps Rookie All-Star Third Baseman
2010
Succeeded by
Brett Lawrie