Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jordany Valdespin Making Noise

A few weeks ago, we at Fonzie Forever plunged through the deep minors and discovered "intriguing" second base prospect Jordany Valdespin. We concluded:

Although it could be seen as an indictment of his talent that he has not yet reached High-A ball entering his age 22 season, his physical abilities (winning Baseball America's 'Best Athlete' award among all Mets minor leaguers) and variety of talents (speed and defense) make him an intriguing prospect.

Lo and behold, one month later Valdespin is making some serious noise around camp. He appeared in a spring training game last week against the Cardinals, but the quotes coming from Minaya and Manuel about Valdespin really caught me off guard:
Maybe the Mets do have a second baseman in their future from their system just as they have Ike Davis at first.

This was Valdespin’s second chance to play in a spring training game. He had a strong first at-bat before lining out to center and later picked up a single. “He’s not that far away,’’ Omar Minaya said. Jerry Manuel said that Valdespin needs to be counted now as one of the Mets top prospects. “He’s got to be added to that mix of good looking young players, I heard a lot about him, boy what a good at-bat he put on the first at-bat of the game.’’ Manuel said. “Very impressive.’’

Valdespin is 22. He’s only 5-10, but a scout told me before the game that Valdespin really caught his eye. “He’s a player,’’ the scout said. Valdespin bats lefty and appears smooth around second. He also made a backhanded play and throw up the middle Luis Castillo could not have made. Valdespin has a little Joe Morgan flap with his left elbow going as he sets up to hit.
The fact that he made a smooth defensive play that Castillo would not have is not a surprise, but the fact that the Mets brass seems to like him so much is a little surprising.

Here's hoping that Valdespin can avoid whatever disipline he found himself in last year and that he can continue to build on his momentum from last year[1]

[1] In addition to hitting .322 for Savannah last year, he had a very strong Winter League performance. From our original post on Valdespin:

In addition, he had a very strong Winter League performance. He batted .300, stole three bases, hit a home run, and did not walk or strikeout in 20 at-bats. According to Toby Hyde of Mets Minor League Blog:

"2B Jordany Valdespin has become the designated pinch-runner for the Tigres del Licey. He’s entered as a pinch-runner, pinch-hitter, or defensive replacement in each of his last 13 appearances since his last start on October 25.

I am very impressed with this. The Dominican Winter League, I am told, plays a notch below AA in terms of difficulty, but Valdespin seems to have held his own. In addition, I love that he was getting playing time, particularly as a defensive replacement, on a team on which he was the second youngest player (after Carlos Triunfel). And over whom was he being selected to play defense? How about Ronnie Belliard, Anderson Hernandez and Blake DeWitt, all of whom were on the active roster for Licey."

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