Friday, December 03, 2004

Merkin Valdez Report

Merkin Valdez, RHP, San Francisco Giants
Signed as an Undrafted Free Agent, 1999, Dominican Republic
Bats R/Throws R
23 YO, 6'5", 208 lbs

Valdez has a really nice fastball and he knows how to use it, but he needs some time to catch up to the level he's pitching at. The Giants started him in the California League, and promoted him three times during the season, including a callup to Pac Bell Park. Here are the numbers that he put up during the season.

San Jose, Cal League, HiA- 2.52 ERA, 44 K, 5 BB, 35.2 IP
Norwich, Eastern League, AA- 4.32 ERA, 31 K, 15 BB, 41.2 IP
Fresno, PCL, AAA- 7.20 ERA, 5K, 4 BB, 5 IP
San Francisco, NL- 27.00 ERA, 2 K, 3 BB, 1.2 IP

He needs some time to consolidate his gains. He needs a half season in the Eastern League or the PCL to catch his breath. It makes it very hard to evaluate a player when he's bouncing around so much. He has a solid track record and two great pitches (he has a very nice slider as well). As long as he's healthy, he's brilliant prospect.

One last note about Valdez. He's one of the players that gets hurt by how I report ages. The ages I post for players are the ages as of the day I post the article. Some publications will report age as how old the player is on opening day of the current season. Since this is a year-round feature, I figured that reporting age as of the day of posting would be the most appropriate policy. However, for players like Valdez, it distorts their records a bit. Valdez was born in November of 1981. He was 22 years old when he put up all the stats above. That year makes a lot of difference when talking about prospects.

ETA: Late 2005
4 1/2 Stars

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