Who is the #2 prospect behind Matt Cain?
    Merkin Valdez
    Marcus Sanders
    Eddy Martinez-Esteve
    Nate Scheirholtz
    Travis Ishikawa
    Kevin Frandsen
    Free polls from Pollhost.com

AVG......Brian Horowitz (.349)
2B.......Eddy Martinez-Esteve (44)
3B.......Clay Timpner (12)
HR.......Todd Linden (30)
RBI......Mike Cervenak (103) SB.......Marcus Sanders (57)
OBP......Todd Linden (.437)
SLG......Todd linden (.682)
ERA......Dave McKae (2.42)
W........Broshuis/Floyd/Salankey (12)
K........Matt Cain (176)
SV.......Bateman/Wilson (21)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Big Year for Valdez in '06

Chris Haft of the San Jose Mercury News chimes in from Scottsdale about Merkin Valdez and his big year coming in 2006. It's amazing Valdez is still only 24 years old. With his stuff, you have to be excited to see him put it all together. He'll be a starter in AAA this year, unless he makes the big club, which is a long shot. His long term outlook is still probably as a late-inning releiver.

"Merkin Valdez has reached the stage where his production must begin to match his potential.

Greatness has been predicted for Valdez since the Giants obtained him and left-hander Damian Moss for right-hander Russ Ortiz in December 2002. Although Ortiz won 77 games in five seasons for the Giants, Valdez, with his breathtaking fastball, seemed capable of more.

Valdez remains the organization's most tantalizing pitching prospect. Yet it's worth remembering that Baseball America, the industry's arbiter of minor league talent, ranked Valdez ahead of Matt Cain as the Giants' top prospect as recently as 2004...

...A long shot to make the Giants' opening-day roster, Valdez likely will begin the season in Triple-A Fresno's rotation. At 24, he still has time to fulfill his promise.

``It's going to be a good year to push him and evaluate him,'' Giants Manager Felipe Alou said.

Moreover, the success of contemporaries such as Cain and Noah Lowry, 25, motivates Valdez to follow their path. ``It's something exciting,'' Valdez said. ``I'm young, too.''

Valdez is also far from polished. After six seasons in the minors, he still lacks ideal control of his fastball, which travels in the mid-90 mph range. Nor has he refined his off-speed pitches, such as his change-up. ``Sometimes it's up, you know?'' Valdez said.

With his gangly 6-foot-3, 220-pound stature, Valdez has struggled to maintain a consistent pitching delivery, the source of many of his flaws. ``There's always a tweak for him to get him right,'' Tidrow said."

Full article from the Merc...

Comments on "Big Year for Valdez in '06"


Blogger DrBGiantsfan said ... (8:13 AM) : 

I saw Merkin Valdez pitch in 2004 for San Jose against High Desert in Adelanto. I had seen Matt Cain pitch earlier in the same season in Rancho Cucamonga. I came away from that game with the distinct impression that Valdez was a better pitcher than Cain. My wife and daughters, who are very knowledgeable about baseball said the same thing at the time. My daughter's got his autograph on a baseball after the game.

I've seen Valdez listed as 6'3" and 6'5". He looked to be at least 6'4" to me. I am 6'4" and stood in front of him on level ground. He pitches even taller than that with arms that just might be the longest I've ever seen.

That night, he threw mainly sinking two seam fastballs. There was no radar gun. He allowed 1 hit, 0 runs, 1 BB, and 5 K's in 5IP. He splintered a couple of bats and induced numerous weak grounders to the infield. I was sitting behind the first base dugout and could see several occasions when hitters were striding too soon telling me that he was throwing some kind of offspeed pitch that was working that night. The few times he really tried to crank up a 4 seamer, he got under it and it sailed high out of the strike zone, but it did appear to have an extra 3-4 MPH on it.

BTW. In the game I saw Matt Cain pitch, he only went 4+ IP because the RC batters kept fouling off pitches which ran up his pitch count. Does that sound familiar?


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