Danny Valencia

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Daniel Paul Valencia

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Biographical Information[edit]

Danny Valencia is a third baseman who began his professional career with the Minnesota Twins. He was drafted by the Twins in the 19th round of the 2006 amateur draft out of the University of Miami. He was signed by scout Hector Otero and began his pro career that summer.

Minor leagues[edit]

In his first professional season, Valencia batted .311 with eight home runs and 29 runs batted in in 48 games with the Elizabethton Twins to be named a 2006 Appalachian League Post-Season All-Star. Valencia was again selected to the All-Star team in 2007 while playing with the Midwest League Beloit Snappers. Immediately following the game, he was promoted to the high A Fort Myers Miracle, and eared Florida State League "Player of the Week" honors, batting .379 (11-29) with two home runs, three runs scored and ten RBIs for the week of July 16 to 22.

Still assigned to the Miracle for the first half of 2008, he batted .336 with five home runs and 44 RBIs to again be named an All-Star, and help the Miracle capture the FSL 2008 Western Division first half crown. Valencia was promoted to the Twins' AA affiliate, the New Britain Rock Cats for the second half of the season. With the Rock Cats, he batted .289 with ten home runs and 32 RBIs.

Following the season, Valencia played Winter ball with the Arizona Fall League's Phoenix Desert Dogs. With the Desert Dogs, his batting average fell to .209 with no home runs and five RBIs. He spent Spring training with the Twins in 2009 as a non-roster invitee, and was reassigned to New Britain following Spring training.

He ended up splitting the 2009 season between New Britain and the AAA Rochester Red Wings, batting a combined .285 with fourteen home runs and 70 RBIs for his two teams. He was brought up in trade rumors for Freddy Sanchez, Marco Scutaro and Orlando Cabrera (whom the Twins eventually acquired for shortstop Tyler Ladendorf) at the 2009 trading deadline, but the Twins were unwilling to part ways with the third baseman saying that he was one of the top position players of the future. On November 20, 2009, he was added to the Twins' 40 man roster.

Major league career[edit]

Valencia entered the 2010 season ranked as the Twins sixth best prospect by Baseball America. On June 3, he was called up to replace Michael Cuddyer, who had been placed on the bereavement list following the death of his father-in-law. In his debut, he went 1 for 3 and quickly claimed the Twins' regular third base job, playing 85 games with a .311 batting average, 7 homers and 40 RBI, his power showing up towards the end of the season. He then went 2 for 9 with a double during the ALDS against the New York Yankees and after the season was named to the 2010 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. He then played 145 games as the Twins' starting third baseman in 2011, but his production fell off significantly, to .246/.294/.383. He did continue to show good power, with 28 doubles, 15 homers and 72 RBI. However, the Twins gave up on him quickly after he started the 2012 season hitting .198 in 34 games. He was sent back to the minors, then in early August was sent to the Boston Red Sox in return for Jeremias Pineda, a non-prospect. He did not really help his stock with the Red Sox either, as he hit only .143 in 10 games when given a late-season look. His minor league performance was not that hot either, as he hit .259 in 82 games between the Rochester Red Wings and Pawtucket Red Sox, with 8 homers and 45 RBIs.

Having become an afterthought, Valencia was purchased by the Baltimore Orioles after the 2012 season. When the Biogenesis Laboratories scandal broke out at the start of the 2013 season, Valencia's name was among those being investigated, but he denied any wrongdoing from the outset, and on August 5th, when a number of suspensions were handed out, Valencia was not linked to any wrongdoing. Danny started the season with the AAA Norfolk Tides, where he hit .286/.326/.531 in 65 games, with 20 homers and 14 doubles. The Orioles needed some offensive help and brought him up first in May for a quick look, and then for good in mid-August. With youngster Manny Machado having an All-Star season at third base, there was no room for him at his usual position, but the Birds needed a DH, and Valencia took beautifully to the assignment, hitting .304/.335/.553 in 52 games. He slammed 14 doubles and 8 homers, and his OPS+ was an excellent 135. It looked like he had found a home for the future in Baltimore, but on December 18th, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals in return for OF David Lough.

With the Royals in 2014, Valencia hit .282 with 2 homers and 11 RBIs in 36 games as a back-up. On July 28th, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in return for P Liam Hendriks and C Erik Kratz. In 50 games for Toronto, he hit .240 to finish the year at .258 with 4 homers and 30 RBIs in 86 games. In 2015, he started the year with Toronto where he bounced back to hit .296 with good power in 58 games. However, when the Jays made a number of moves at the trading deadline, he was left holding the short end of the stick and was put on waivers, as there was no room left for him on the roster. He was immediately claimed by the Oakland Athletics, and played 47 games for them the rest of the way, hitting .284. Overall, he hit .290 with 23 doubles and 18 homers in 105 games, good for an OPS+ of 135. That assured his place with the team in 2016, where he continued to hit well while playing mainly at third base, but also filing in elsewhere. On [[May 15]th, he had the first three-homer game of his career in a 7-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. However, on August 19th, he was involved in a clubhouse fight with DH Billy Butler, with Butler getting the worst of it as he ended up on the disabled list with a concussion. For Valencia's part, he was fined for his involvement in the fracas and was also benched for a couple of games. In 130 games, he hit .287 with 17 homers and 51 RBIs in what was his most productive season since his sophomore year in 2011. Likely as a result of his late-season brawl, though, the A's dealt him to the Seattle Mariners in return for minor league P Paul Blackburn on November 12th.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Greg Johns: "Valencia looks to carve out niche with Mariners: New acquisition likely to be part of first-base platoon, but can also play third, right field", mlb.com, February 2, 2017. [1]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Danny Valencia finds home with A’s, but could be sent packing again", USA Today Sports, June 16, 2016. [2]

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