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Val Pascucci

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Valentino Martin Pascucci

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Val Pascucci was first drafted as a right-handed pitcher by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 11th round of the 1996 amateur draft out of high school. He did not sign and instead went to the University of Oklahoma. The tall hurler was 4-0 and struck out 64 in 58 innings but had a 7.29 ERA. He hit .333/.484/.514 his second year at Oklahoma, though, and would be converted to playing the field after being drafted.

The Montreal Expos drafted Pascucci in the 15th round of the 1999 amateur draft. The move to the outfield was a smart one as Valentino batted .351/.482/.541 and led the New York-Penn League in runs (62 in 72 games) and OBP. He stole 17 bases in 19 tries and was second to Vermont Expos teammate Matt Watson in batting average and seven points behind slugging leader Andrew Beinbrink. Pascucci made the league's All-Star team.

In 2000, the Californian hit .284/.394/.472 for the Jupiter Hammerheads and .319/.442/.507 for the Cape Fear Crocs with 113 strikeouts, 34 doubles, 19 steals in 25 tries, 17 homers and 82 walks. The next year, Pascucci made it to AA with the Harrisburg Senators and batted only .244/.344/.416, though he drew 65 walks and homered 21 times. He only was 8 for 16 in steals.

Returning to Harrisburg in 2002, Val improved to .235/.374/.447. He struck out 115 times, drew 93 walks and cracked 27 home runs. He led the Eastern League in both homers and walks, but was left off the EL All-Star team. Additionally, his walk total stands as the modern (1987-2005) record for a Harrisburg hitter.

At age 24, Valentino was promoted to AAA with the Edmonton Trappers of 2003. He batted .281/.419/.447 with 29 doubles, 80 runs, 85 RBI, 15 homers, 101 walks and 132 K in a dazzling season. He also threw out 15 runners and turned five double plays, tied for the Pacific Coast League lead. His OBP was 8 points behind leader Brian Dallimore and he drew the most walks in the PCL. He was fourth in all of the minor leagues in walks.

In the 2004 Caribbean Series, Pascucci went 5 for 19 with a double and a homer for the Ponce Lions.

In 2004, Val got a look from the Expos but managed just a .177/.297/.290 line in 32 games, getting just 62 AB. Again playing most of the year in Edmonton, he batted .298/.422/.575 with 78 walks, 25 homers, 32 doubles, 83 runs and 92 RBI. With 114 homers in five years as a pro, two walk titles, one run title, one home run crown and one lead in OBP, Pascucci did not get a long look from any team and instead went overseas to join the Chiba Lotte Marines.

In 2005, he spent most of the year at ni-gun, but filled in very well when Benny Agbayani was injured - Pascucci hit .284/.392/.549 in 33 games. His OPS was better than any of the team's three more prominent gaijin position players who started ahead of Pascucci - Agbayani, Matt Franco and Seung-Yeop Lee. He did not play in the 2005 Japan Series as these three gaijin took the three alloted slots for foreigners. Pascucci played for Italy in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and went 1 for 10 with a triple, two walks and five strikeouts while playing in all three games they were involved in.

Lee was let go before 2006 and Pascucci was given the starting right-field assignment but batted .211/.324/.422 with 32 strikeouts in 90 AB and lost his job to former teammate Watson. He returned later in the year to finish with a .222/.332/.468 line in 203 AB. His 13 home runs were third on the club behind Agbayani and Tomoya Satozaki.

Pascucci came back to the USA in 2007 with the Albuquerque Isotopes. Val was named the "Star of Stars" in the 2007 Triple-A All-Star Game. Pascucci made the PCL All-Star team as the designated hitter. Pascucci hit .284/.389/.577 for Albuquerque with 34 home runs, 93 runs and 98 RBI. He led the Pacific Coast League and Marlins farmhands in homers and was third in the affiliated minors. He had another good season in AAA in 2008, belting 25 doubles and 28 home runs while driving in 88 runs in 139 games between the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and the Norfolk Tides. He started the year with Lehigh Valley, a Philadelphia Phillies affiliate, and was released after a slow start. The New York Mets signed him and sent him to Norfolk, where he did very well. His batting line was .290/.410/.553 in 114 games for Norfolk and .232/.370/.293 in 25 contests for Lehigh Valley. However, he still did not earn a return visit to the Show.

Pascucci returned to the Italian team for the 2009 World Baseball Classic and was in the lineup as the team's clean-up hitter and designated hitter for its opening game against Venezuela. He played in the New York Mets organization in 2010, hitting .258 with 17 home runs and 38 RBI in 72 games for the Buffalo Bisons.

In 2011, he played in the major leagues for the first time since 2004. He hit .273 with one home run and two RBI in 11 at-bats for the Mets. He spent most of the year with the Bisons, hitting .264/.375/.476 with 21 home runs and 91 RBI.

Pascucci became a coach with the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2014.


Sources: 1997, 2000-2005 Baseball Almanacs, Thebaseballcube (for collegiate stats), Sergei Borisov's 2006 NPB website (and his 2005 NPB site), World Baseball Classic website, 2006 Harrisburg Senators souvenir program

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