With his fastball, he can bring in consistent weak contact. He has a two-seam heater that has an excellent sink and consistent velocity. His combination of velocity and command, make him comparable to Jesse Foppert. His fastball reaches speeds from 92-98 mph while his slider still needs a bit more work because of it's inconsistency. He's not afraid to work inside and attacks lefthanders successfully.
Yet, just as most players, he does have things to improve on before he can make it to the major leagues. Valdez needs more experience to improve his game and develop his pitches, especially his slider and changeup. In the past, he has rushed his delivery and overthrown pitches. He alters his delivery for his off-speed pitches from time to time, which effects his consistency. His changeup is still developing as well.
His numbers are quite impressive, especially his strikeouts and low ERA. He also has good control (only 49 walks in 156 innings.) The only real concern will be seeing if he repeats this performance this season, and injuries are always a possibility. (Remember Jake Esteves? Yeah… you probably don't. In 1999,He had even better control than this guy, and a lower ERA, and in Class A+. He got injured, and that ruined his future as a starter.)
Future: Expect him to start up at Class A+ San Jose with a call-up to Double-A Norwich. He still could jump up to the majors sometime in 2004, especially if the Giants injured pitching staff loses anyone during the stretch. After much more work, he looks to be a first or second starter.
Jesse Radin writes for SFDugout.com and has been a Giants follower since 1996. The Blind Observer is Jesse's column covering all things baseball, though mainly about the Giants. Questions or comments can be sent to email@example.com
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