Phillies Prospect #17: Sebastian Valle

After becoming a catcher during the 2007 season, Sebastian Valle has been pretty quick to pick up the skills that he'll need to succeed. Offensively, he's also on the right track, even though he's very young and needs more work.

Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent in October, 2006.
Bats: L   Throws: R
Height: 6' 1"   Weight: 168 pounds
Birth Date: July 24, 1990
2008 Team(s): Gulf Coast League
Positions/Games: C (29 G), DH (18 G)
2008 Ranking: unranked

Batting and Power: Sebastian Valle debuted in the Gulf Coast League last season at the tender age of 18 and put up strong numbers considering both his age and the fact that it was his first season in the states. The potential is there for Valle to be a plus-hitter with at least average power and possibly more if he develops well. While Valle has the potential to show power, right now, he's more the type of player that's going to hit for average and he's shown good enough plate discipline that he will be able to get on base.

Category Sebastian Valle Gulf Coast League
AB/2B 11.13 20.55
AB/3B - 121.22
AB/HR 83.50 80.81
AB/RBI 9.28 8.37
AB/R 6.19 7.17
AB/BB 13.92 10.13
AB/KO 5.39 4.38
AVG .281 .253
OBP .341 .331
SLG .407 .356
Categories with numbers in white show areas where Valle outperformed the average player in the South Atlantic League during the 2008 season. Categories with numbers in black show areas where he was below the league average.

Baserunning and Speed: There isn't much speed in Valle's game, which is one of the reasons why he wound up behind the plate. He can sometimes be a little clumsy on the basepaths, but will likely develop more skills so that he's at least not going to run himself into outs. In two seasons in the organization, he's attempted just eight stolen bases and has been successful on just half of them.

Defense: Originally, Valle was going to be a first baseman, but he simply wasn't going to have the glove to stick at first, so the Phillies have worked with him on learning how to catch and so far, so good. He needs some work on his mechanics, especially on putting himself into position to be able to throw out base-stealers. Last season, he threw out less than 25% of the runners attempting to run against him. The good news is that it's not really his arm that's the problem, most of the issues come from simply not knowing the mechanics of catching. Otherwise, he's picked up the skills pretty well and just needs to play more behind the plate and continue working on his defense to improve what he'll be able to do behind the plate.

Projection: Valle is still young and very raw, but has adapted well and has shown a good work ethic. He's willing and able to soak up anything the coaches throw at him and should be able to develop into at least an average catcher defensively. At the plate, all of the basics are there, but again, he will need more time to truly develop into a strong offensive player and it remains to be seen whether or not the power-hitter part of his game will come around.

Comparison: One scout believes that Valle could be an equal of Carlos Ruiz, if all his development possibilities come true. He's a competent prospect and should continue to develop well and is young enough that he doesn't need to be rushed. It's likely that he'll play in a short-season league again in 2009, because there is so much for him to work on both offensively and defensively.

Sebastian Valle's career stats

2007 DSL 2 25 .284 54 176 29 50 13 1 4 50% 29 26 .398 .403
2008 GCL 2 18 .281 48 167 27 47 15 0 0 - 12 31 .341 .407
TOTALS 4 43 .283 102 343 56 97 28 1 4 50% 41 57 .371 .405

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