Danny Valencia can be an asset to the A’s after this season
Danny Valencia has an interesting path through the major leagues, but it finally appears that the A’s third baseman may have found a home in Oakland. However, whether or not the A’s intend to keep him (he’s under team control through next season) or trade him to a team that needs a third baseman is completely up in the air.
Valencia’s major league adventures began when he was drafted in the 19th round of the 2006 draft by the Minnesota Twins. He finished his 2011 rookie season third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, having hit .311/.351/.448 for a .799 OPS.
Slumps and injuries led him to lose the starting job at third base to current Twins’ third baseman Trevor Plouffe. After being traded to the Boston Red Sox, he went on to play short stints with the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays before the A’s picked him up off of waivers from Toronto in August of last season.
Often seen as an inconsistent hitter, Valencia has been anything but since joining the Athletics. He came to the A’s and immediately started hitting. In his first four games in Oakland he was 7-for-16 with two homers, two doubles, two walks, five RBI, and a 1.438 OPS.
He hit multiple walk-offs, whether via a home run or a single, and broke up Colby Lewis’ perfect-game bid when no one else on the team could seem to figure the pitcher out. Once he arrived in Oakland he was the team’s best hitter in 2015.
Valencia finished what happened to be a career-season for a guy who was usually only used by his other clubs against left-handers, batting .290 with 18 home runs and 66 RBI. While Valencia has always hit well against lefties, last season he started to hit off righties too, putting up a .319/.350/.457 slash line against them.
It was unclear what Valencia would do once spring training rolled around, but he continued destroying both lefties and righties. He really jump started the A’s offense upon his return from the disabled list on May 13 and ended up hitting eight homers in the month of May; he was named Co-Player of the Month along with A’s teammate Khris Davis.
Despite the fact that the A’s were most recently swept by the Houston Astros, Valencia had three key hits including hitting his ninth home run. It seems unlikely that, at 31 years old, Valencia would be improving, especially after having a career-year at age 30, but he is. It may only be early June, making what we’ve seen thus far a small sample, but barring a major injury or random regression, it appears that Valencia is in for an even better year than in 2015.
So what’s the problem? Why would the A’s even consider trading one of their best hitters? To find out follow the link below to read the rest of the story on Today’s Knuckleball:
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